Tech Support Pits column from  Dear Webby's Humor Letter
widely read, forwarded, copied and imitated daily since 1994
Dear Webby's Humor Letter, daily since 1994

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DearWebby is actually Helmut Morscher, the CEO of Webby, inc.

Originally the "Tech Support Pits" were reports of the funniest tech support incidents, but over the years the column gradually shifted to answering tech support questions put forward by the readers of the Dear Webby Humor Letter.

This collection of computer and web advice was started partly because readers demanded an archive, and partly because some questions were asked again and again. Each page has a different day's Tech Support Pits column.

Have FUN!
Tech Support Pits column from Dear Webby's Humor Letter of
11/20/04: What does spyware take ?

Tech Support Pits:
From Grant=== Dear Webby, What kind of information do those spyware programs report? Is it just anonymous demographic statistical stuff, or can they take sensitive data too? Grant Dear Grant Unless you are properly protected against them, spyware programs can take anything they want. They can for example look at your cookies and find shopping cart information, they can take your credit card info and give somebody all the data they need to order the same computer as you did, but have it shipped to a different address. They can look at your Auto-Complete and get your bank ID and password, and clean your accounts. They can look at the love letters your sweetie has sent to you, and they can look at your Instant Messenger history. They can make a list of all the pictures and movies you have, and they can even look in your recycle bin to see what you have deleted lately. There is practically no limit to what they can get out of an unprotected machine. Some spyware also opens a back door for secretly downloading stuff into your computer. Those downloads can be ads, they can be spam programs so that spammers can use your computer to send out spam and get you blamed for it, they can even be pirated programs that will discredit you, since you have no way of proving that you did not get that stolen software yourself. Viruses are harmless by comparison. At most, they only ruin your data. A spy can ruin your life. For casual security and careful users I highly recommend Spybot-Search&Destroy or AdAware. If you have careless or inexperienced family members, or if you have sensitive data on your machine, then click on that black button in the left side menu and do a free scan of your machine. The scan is very thorough and takes a while, but you can let it run in the background and continue working. It will look for over 17,000 different spies and hijackers and link redirectors. If it does not find anything that you can not safely uninstall yourself, relax. No need to buy the program then. Just click on that link button once a week and do a free scan. If it does find any nasties, then you can still upgrade to the paid version. Right now the upgrade is only $29, and in my opinion worth every penny. If you are subscribed to the text version and don't see the button for the free scan, just browse to and click on it there. Have FUN! DearWebby
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