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I’m a pretty careful guy so I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to protecting my home machine from the ever increasing malware infestations we seem to be subjected to while surfing, downloading and uploading on the internet. Some might even consider it overkill.

Currently my home system is running the following freeware: Zone Alarm (3’rd most popular firewall What Firewall Software do you Use ? [Poll] What Firewall Software do you Use ? [Poll] Read More among MakeUseOf readers), WinPatrol (system monitor), Avira AntiVir Personal – Free Antivirus, ThreatFire 3 Best Programs To Keep Your Computer Secure Best Programs To Keep Your Computer Secure Read More (blocks zero-day attacks heuristically), SnoopFree Privacy Shield 2 Cool Programs to Stay Safe from Hackers 2 Cool Programs to Stay Safe from Hackers Read More (anti-keylogger) and Spyware Terminator (spyware protection/removal). This is my minimum safety configuration; depending on circumstances, in addition, I will also use Sandboxie (a free sand box application).

As you can see, Spyware Terminator is my current application of choice in the spyware protection/removal category. Having tested virtually all of the major anti-spyware apps Do you have a Spyware Removal Program? Which one? [Poll] Do you have a Spyware Removal Program? Which one? [Poll] Read More over the last year or more, I’ve settled, for now, on Spyware Terminator.

Spyware Terminator

A simple to use interface makes this program easy to setup, customize and run, for both less experienced and expert users alike.

Spyware Terminator provides strong active protection against known and unknown threats. If anything, I find it perhaps a little overly aggressive. On the other hand, better this than the alternative.

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The program rates very highly in offering protection against spyware, adware, Trojans, key-loggers, home page hijackers and other malware threats. The scan behavior can be customized based on your level of experience; ranging from automatic interception for the less experienced user, to manual potential threat control for the more experienced user.

Spyware Terminator 2

A definite plus is the program’s ability to schedule spyware scans on a daily or a weekly basis to ensure your computer’s continuing integrity. When set to download updates automatically, Spyware Terminator will check for, download and install new updates, keeping all files current with minimal user input. Optionally, you can choose to update manually.

Included with Spyware Terminator is Open Source ClamWin anti-virus, a reasonably effective anti-virus solution. My personal choice however has been to disengage this side of the package and to run Avira AntiVir Personal – Free Antivirus instead.

Quick Facts about Spyware Terminator

Real-time protection
Spyware removal
Automatic updates
Scheduled scans
On demand fast scan
On demand full scan
On demand customized scan
On Boot file remover
Context menu scan option
AntiVirus integration
Free support
Multilanguage support

System Requirements:

Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/Vista

As we all know however, there is no one anti-malware tool that is likely to identify and remove all of the millions of rogue malware that infest the cyber world. So to ensure maximum safety, if that’s even possible, it’s important to have layered defenses in the ongoing fight against malware.

An excellent choice, as a secondary line of defense, is Spyware Doctor Starter Edition from PC Tools. This free version of the award winning program, with its easy to use interface, is used by millions of people worldwide to protect their computers; it’s reported there are a million+ additional downloads every week.

File protection is the only real time protection that operates in the free version and unfortunately, this level of real-time protection is inadequate in the current internet environment.

I would not recommend then, that you use this free version of Spyware Doctor as a stand alone security application because it simply will not offer you adequate protection. Instead, use it only as an on-demand scanner.

  1. Iman Diaz
    September 14, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    I personally prefer MalwareBytes Anti-Malware but having a backup incase it takes a turn for the worst always helps!

  2. Ameet
    July 9, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Bill, whats your view on 'Outpost Security Suite 2009'

  3. lawiz
    July 7, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    spyware terminator is rock!! have been used for 1 year :D

  4. DoneThat2
    July 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Over the years, I used a variety of tactics and tools to make my PCs more secure. Back some two years ago, I settled on a common set of tools for each PC, including:

    Firefox
    AVG
    Spybot immunization (manually update about every 3 months)
    Spyblaster immunization (manually update about every 3 months)
    XP Auto updates
    XP Firewall
    Gmail or Yahoo email, instead of desktop email client
    Auto clear on exit for Firefox history, cookies, & caches
    Limited user accounts for daily use

    I implemented these tools and policies on all family members' PCs, including a teenager's and a 90+ senior's. Since doing the above, infections went from great frequency to zero (yes, zero). When anyone wants to install new software, they have to go into the administrator account via a password on the Welcome screen.

    For my own PC, I added the NoScript extension to Firefox, plus the Returnil Virtual System for when I'm testing freeware or browsing known areas of web infection drive-bys. I use an anonymization service that pretty makes my PC invisible, according to Gibson's Shields Up. For those apps that dislike LUA's, I use the freeware Raise My Rights to great affect.

    Once you get used to limited user accounts and the constant flushing of history and cookies, it's not an annoyance, nor hindrance. In this mode, I've learned to rely more on frequent bookmarking, printing web pages to PDFs, and then desktop search tools to find what I need. (I also use Thunderbird to download old email about every 2 months.)

  5. Aibek
    July 3, 2008 at 5:45 am

    Bill, what are your thoughts about Windows Firewall? Do you think it's a reliable tool? I have been using it for about 4-5 months now and it never alerted me about anything. Ok, maybe a couple times. So I am a bit bothered by that.

    • Bill Mullins
      July 3, 2008 at 9:19 am

      Hey Aibek,

      Windows Firewall has never been a particular favorite of mine; but that may well be predicated on my view that MS writes buggy apps. This is a personal view only and there are many who are satisfied with the effectiveness and efficiency of Windows Firewall.

      Just like you, I’m always a little suspicious of applications that just sit there and are short on communication skills – I find I want to yell “tell me something”. Using a small diagnostic application like CurrPorts and/or Windows Netstat gives me a reasonable indication of the strength and effectiveness of my firewall’s operations and forces the system to “tell me something”. Since I am a security freak, I test my Firewall 2/3 times a day; and yes I know many would consider this overkill.

      Another great tool is Steve Gibson’s ShieldsUp; a popular, reliable, and trusted, free Firewall testing site. Any questions concerning a Firewall’s settings and effectiveness can easily be settled by visiting this site.

      On June 1, Makeuseof.com covered the Netstat command and 2 free port analyzers CurrPorts and Process and Port Analyzer, any one of which can act as a reasonable test of your Firewall’s effectiveness.

      • Karl L. Gechlik
        July 3, 2008 at 9:32 am

        "Since I am a security freak, I test my Firewall 2/3 times a day; and yes I know many would consider this overkill."

        Hell no! I test and test and test some more! You can never be 2 sure! I use netStat habitually and also love ZoneAlarm for its ease of use and non-Microsoftness...

        You just know MS lets there crap phone home!

        " Ohh I am being used in a not so legit way...Help me Mr. Gates... "Or hey look at me here is my IP, I am a pirate... Arrrrrr!!

        • Bill Mullins
          July 3, 2008 at 11:45 am

          Hey Karl,

          I really appreciate hearing from a highly skilled geek like you, that I am not over reacting by testing so frequently.

          I can now tell my geeky friends to "get stuffed".

          You've made my day. Gracias Amigo!!

          Bill

  6. ph
    July 2, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    I just downloaded Spyware Terminator after reading your post, unfortunately I cant get any updates... that is, the update starts downloading but just stops after 1-2 minutes... does anyone else have similar problems? do they have frequent server problems at Spyware Terminator? I'm on a decent internet connection and normally dont have problems like this ...and a piece of security software w/o updates is just not worth the memory...

    • Ameet
      July 2, 2008 at 3:19 pm

      Yeah some issue with update.

    • Bill Mullins
      July 2, 2008 at 5:28 pm

      Hey ph,

      I've not heard of updating problems with this application, although I have noticed that updates seem to be slower than some other free program sites. On the other hand, my experience this last year has been, that many free antimalware programs/suites have been slower in updating than in previous years.

      It could be that speedier updates are one more incentive for updating to the paid edition. Personally, I'll wait through the frustrating experience of the slooow update, and hang onto my money.

      Bill

  7. Ameet
    July 2, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Avira Premium Security Suite and Spyware Terminator should be sufficient i guess. SnoopFree Privacy Shield is not available for vista

    • Bill Mullins
      July 2, 2008 at 2:24 pm

      Hey Ameet,

      Avira Premium Security Suite and Spyware Terminator are both good choices and should offer you the protection you require. As you say, SnoopFree Privacy Shield is not available for Vista which is unfortunate.

      I'm always more than a little surprised at the percentage of applications (on install), that ask for keyboard and screen privilages - SnoopFree picks them up instantly. Generally I refuse access, and I have rarely come across an application that would not install, or run, despite being refused access.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Bill

  8. Ashutosh Mishra
    July 2, 2008 at 10:52 am

    I used Spyware Terminator when it was in version 1.x; the interface was even simpler and there wasn't this HIPS feature built into it (this is completely unnecessary for a cautious internet user like me). You can always turn off the HIPS feature, but the System Summary tab shows a big ugly red / yellow sign if you do so.

    Spyware Doctor SE is great for on-demand scanning, but it's real time protection is probably the most memory consuming thing I've ever come across. It doesn't even turn off conveniently, taking ages to do so. And the next time you start it for a full scan, it'll take another era to activate.

    Right now, my only security tools are avast! home edition (which provides spyware protection as well), Windows firewall (ridiculous, but it's still very light and effectively guards inbound traffic) and SiteAdvisor.

    • Bill Mullins
      July 2, 2008 at 2:12 pm

      Hey Ashutosh,

      I have to admit, like you I find SP SE a pain on startup and shutdown. You might want to checkout Commodo Firewall Pro (it's free for both home and commercial use), since outbound traffic control is an issue that requires careful consideration.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Bill

      • Ashutosh Mishra
        July 3, 2008 at 4:46 am

        Yet again I was a big fan of the previous versions (2.4 that is) of Comodo firewall, but the latest one includes the same "I-will-eat-your-ass-off-by popping-alerts-every-10-seconds" HIPS feature which makes it so much more irritating and heavier. I have just 512MB of RAM on my age old desktop, so I've assorted to using minimal but effective security tools. :)

  9. Ameet
    July 2, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Spyware Terminator is cool, btw with so many apps installed, wont ur machine eatup resource?
    wonder any single app manages all of them.

    • Bill Mullins
      July 2, 2008 at 2:06 pm

      Hey Ameet,

      Good question - surpriseingly even with those apps running in the background and surfing on FF 3, total memory usage rarely exceeds 160 Meg.

      Bill

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