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Spyware Blaster 4.1 & Spybot 1.6 -- What's The Verdict?


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#1 bloomcounty

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 07:28 PM

Since it's just about time to update to AVG Free 8.0, I'm thinking I'll probably uninstall the old Spybot 1.4. It's only partially supported, and will no longer be at all pretty soon. I never scan with it and really only keep it around for the immunization feature (which I'm not really sure what that's doing or how effectively -- especially since it hasn't been updated in months).

Apparently, Spybot works okay with AVG Free 8.0 now (and I guess that includes Spybot 1.6?).

I'm thinking, since I don't do any "risky" internet surfing, I'm probably pretty safe with AVG Free (now 7.5, soon to be 8.0) and SAS Free. But I'm curious about Spybot 1.6 and if people are finding it useful/good -- and especially if they're finding it better than 1.5 and 1.4. I know some people here weren't too fond of Spybot 1.5 and had no intentions of upgrading (which I what I based my decision on).

So I wanted to see what everyone's thoughts were on Spybot 1.6 in general and in regards to the above...

Thanks! :thumbsup:

Spyware Blaster 4.1 & Spybot 1.6 -- What's the verdict?

Edited by jgweed, 05 August 2008 - 04:48 PM.

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#2 Galadriel

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 07:52 PM

I don't have an opinion on how 1.6 works yet. But I wanted to interject something here.

Since it's just about time to update to AVG Free 8.0, I'm thinking I'll probably uninstall the old Spybot 1.4. It's only partially supported, and will no longer be at all pretty soon. I never scan with it and really only keep it around for the immunization feature (which I'm not really sure what that's doing or how effectively -- especially since it hasn't been updated in months).


In general, and especially with security software, it's not a good idea to run an outdated version at all. For many reasons. If you don't like the most recent one or it just doesn't work well on your machine, the best bet is to just find a different program that works well for you. Having an outdated AV/AS is as good as not having one.

As for the immunize feature, it is useful, but Spyware Blaster has a larger and, IMO, a more up to date and accurate database. These don't require the program to run. Instead they use a 'killbit' in the registry to stop the loading and execution of certain ActiveX controls and also blocks some cookies. Spyware Blaster in addition adds the restricted sites list.

If you do uninstall it (and by the looks of it, you really should, if not to install 1.6, at least to clean up), I suggest you first undo the immunize feature. And also, if you are running TeaTimer or SDHelper, get those reset before the uninstall. You can find both of them in Tools - Resident (in advanced mode). Make sure both are unchecked and exit. You may also want to undo the hosts, if you've used that function, before you uninstall.

Hope that helps. I'll have to install 1.6 and check it out myself.
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#3 bloomcounty

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 08:04 PM

Thanks for the reply, Galadriel!

AVG 7.5 A/V and A/S Free aren't technically outdated yet -- you can still get definition and virus database updates until the end of the month. So that's when I plan on upgrading to 8.0 Free (since I've read that there is another big update to AVG 8.0 coming before then).

Re: Spybot 1.4 -- Is it hurting anything having it on my computer with it fully immunized from a few months back and the IE Resident Helper thing activated? (I only use IE for Windows Updates, I use Firefox 2.0.0.16 for internet browsing.) I do plan on removing it, but was planning to do so all at the same time at the end of the month.

And thanks for the suggestions on the Spybot removal steps -- I've got full removal instructions on-hand that include all those things you listed!

Re: Spyware Blaster -- I had considered installing that awhile back, but thought I read some issues with it. Can't remember the details. Anybody here have any issues/problems/compatibility/etc. with Spyware Blaster 4.1? Does it work okay with AVG Free 8.0? Does it easily *uninstall* if necessary?

:thumbsup:

Edited by bloomcounty, 04 August 2008 - 08:05 PM.

My stats: Windows XP Home SP2; Firefox 3.0.14 w/ Ad-Block Plus; IE 6.0 (used only for monthly Windows Critical Updates); ZoneAlarm 6.1.744.001 Free; AVG 8.5 A/V Free; SuperAntispyware Free 4.28.1010

#4 Galadriel

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 08:24 PM

Thanks for the reply, Galadriel!

AVG 7.5 A/V and A/S Free aren't technically outdated yet -- you can still get definition and virus database updates until the end of the month. So that's when I plan on upgrading to 8.0 Free (since I've read that there is another big update to AVG 8.0 coming before then).


I wasn't referring to AVG. I was specifically referencing SSD 1.4. Since 1.5 has been available for quite some time already, 1.4 really isn't supported in terms of scanning engine and protections.

Re: Spybot 1.4 -- Is it hurting anything having it on my computer with it fully immunized from a few months back and the IE Resident Helper thing activated? (I only use IE for Windows Updates, I use Firefox 2.0.0.16 for internet browsing.) I do plan on removing it, but was planning to do so all at the same time at the end of the month.


No, it is not hurting anything, but it probably isn't helping much at all. And the BHO (Resident SDHelper.dll) can't catch what it doesn't know exists.

And thanks for the suggestions on the Spybot removal steps -- I've got full removal instructions on-hand that include all those things you listed!


You're quite welcome. I've used Spybot for years.

Re: Spyware Blaster -- I had considered installing that awhile back, but thought I read some issues with it. Can't remember the details. Anybody here have any issues/problems/compatibility/etc. with Spyware Blaster 4.1? Does it work okay with AVG Free 8.0? Does it easily *uninstall* if necessary?

:thumbsup:


Spyware Blaster is the easiest program to handle. It is silent, it doesn't need running except to check for updates and enable new protections, and is fairly straight forward. As for compatibility issues.... AVG did have a false positive attack on the killbits a while back. But from what has been said, it was fixed in a recent update. It wasn't a compatibility issue, more like an error in judgement on AVG's part. It didn't bother trying to determine if the entries were indeed bad or if they were only there to be blocked. That's akin to a program scanning the hosts file and going nuts over all the ad domains in there. As long as the hosts file redirects the domains to localhost, what's the problem? The same applies to the problem with the killbits. The entries in the registry themselves are harmless. The value they are assigned is what AVG should have been looking at (and probably what it is now doing). It's a problem that has popped up on more than one occasion in the past and not just with AVG.

And yes, it uninstalls easily also. But as with Spybot, it is recommended that if you do uninstall it after enabling protections, that you disable them first.
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#5 drex23

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 08:22 AM

Just a quick comment - 1.6 has a few improvements over previous versions. Mainly, the much improved scan times and it is also supposed to have better detection. I don't test it that much, but I did start using it while it was in beta or release candidate form and have not had any problems with it. I'll take their word that detection has improved, which is good, but I still wouldn't recommend it as a main scanner. I too, mostly use it for the immunization feature along with SpywareBlaster. Finally, although you may not do risky surfing, these days many legitimate sites are getting hacked and serving malware. So, if you decide against using Spybot, I would echo Galadriel's suggestion and also recommend using SpywareBlaster.

#6 bloomcounty

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 11:09 AM

Thanks for the replies!

I think I'm going to pass on Spybot once I get AVG updated to 8.0 Free, and go with Spyware Blaster 4.1.

Is this set-up tutorial still valid?
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/use-spywareblaster-to-protect-your-computer/

It's pretty old (though detailed and well-written), so I'm wondering if there are more steps or things you need to do?

Also, in this tutorial, when it talks about enabling the Active X and Cookie Protection, if your IE settings are already set to High and set to not allow Active X or cookies (except for Windows Update), should you still check both of these things? I'm guessing yes, but I just want to make sure that it doesn't do anything "bad" or contrary if you have those things set that way already? Same with Firefox... if I already have cookies turned off, does it do the opposite or something contrary if I also use the Firefox cookie protection in Spyware Blaster?

What about the snapshot thing? Is that just the same as a system restore point? Any reason to do this?

And this may be a dumb question, but since the company is "Javacool" -- does that mean the program itself uses Java? I actually don't have Java installed on my computer... (Never had any need for it...)

Thanks again! :thumbsup:

Edited by bloomcounty, 05 August 2008 - 11:27 AM.

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#7 quietman7

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 11:50 AM

When AVG8 was initially released there were so many reported problems with SpywareBlaster and Sbybot's S&D Immunize feature that they issued FAQ 1198: Infection detected in "ActiveX Compatibility" registry key to address the issue.

An "ActiveX Compatibility" registry key is a result of the "Immunize" function included in some anti-spyware programs (e.g.: "Spybot search & destroy", "Spyware blaster",...)

The key contains the same registry entries as the actual threats, thus preventing them from working correctly. Some anti-spyware programs use this method to prevent launching of the malware. Unfortunately, these parts are still detected by AVG signatures and that is why AVG marks them as infected. To assure protection provided by AVG against these threats, it is not possible to remove such signatures from AVG virus bases. Because of this, "Immunize" function included in above mentioned softwares is NOT compatible with AVG products.


As Galadriel said, subsequent AVG8 updates corrected the detections and the link to that FAQ was removed.

There were some changes in the GUI when SpywareBlaster was updated but the tutorial appears to have been updated to show them.
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#8 Galadriel

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 12:51 PM

Also, in this tutorial, when it talks about enabling the Active X and Cookie Protection, if your IE settings are already set to High and set to not allow Active X or cookies (except for Windows Update), should you still check both of these things? I'm guessing yes, but I just want to make sure that it doesn't do anything "bad" or contrary if you have those things set that way already? Same with Firefox... if I already have cookies turned off, does it do the opposite or something contrary if I also use the Firefox cookie protection in Spyware Blaster?


Actually the good thing about Spyware Blaster and Spybot's Immunize feature is that it doesn't actually block those entries just in IE. The settings are global, so even if you already have something in the computer that tries to access those, it won't work. It protects the computer itself, not just Internet Explorer. The cookie settings you have set shouldn't have to be changed. They will not conflict with any of the killbits.

What about the snapshot thing? Is that just the same as a system restore point? Any reason to do this?


Actually the tutorial mentions that (bold added by me):

SpywareBlaster has the ability to take a snapshot, or backup, of certain settings in your browser and your registry. These settings will be saved in a database that is stored in your SpywareBlaster directory. If in the future you make a mistake, or things start acting strange, you can restore your configuration from this backup.


As you can see, the Snapshots aren't like System Restore, but more a fall back for browser and registry settings with regards to security.

And this may be a dumb question, but since the company is "Javacool" -- does that mean the program itself uses Java? I actually don't have Java installed on my computer... (Never had any need for it...)

Thanks again! :thumbsup:


Actually no, the program isn't Java based. But the developper's nickname is Javacool.

Hope this helps.

Edited to fix weird link...

Edited by Galadriel, 06 August 2008 - 04:18 PM.

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#9 bloomcounty

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 02:00 PM

Thanks for the replies!

So, just to verify:

Yes, enable the Active X and Cookie Protection for IE and Firefox regardless of the fact that I already have IE set to not allow Active X except from Windows Update and to already block all cookies. (I know you said the cookies won't matter, but I wasn't sure about the rest...)

Yes, do a Snapshot. (I understand your explanation -- thanks! -- but wanted to make sure you're saying to actually do this.)

Is that all correct?

Thanks!
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#10 Galadriel

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 02:28 PM

Thanks for the replies!

So, just to verify:

Yes, enable the Active X and Cookie Protection for IE and Firefox regardless of the fact that I already have IE set to not allow Active X except from Windows Update and to already block all cookies. (I know you said the cookies won't matter, but I wasn't sure about the rest...)

Yes, do a Snapshot. (I understand your explanation -- thanks! -- but wanted to make sure you're saying to actually do this.)

Is that all correct?

Thanks!


Far from me the pretention to tell anyone what they should do with their machines. I can simply explain what they are and let you decide for yourself what is best for you. But yes, in my opinion both of those are good security measures. :thumbsup:
I cemna prestar aen. Han mathon ne nen. Han mathon ne chae. A han noston ne 'wilith. - Galadriel
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#11 bloomcounty

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 02:43 PM

Far from me the pretention to tell anyone what they should do with their machines. I can simply explain what they are and let you decide for yourself what is best for you. But yes, in my opinion both of those are good security measures. :flowers:


Hey, I'd figured you'd know what would be best, seeing as you have that basin filled with water that tells you things... :thumbsup:

Thanks again!
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#12 Galadriel

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 02:54 PM

Hey, I'd figured you'd know what would be best, seeing as you have that basin filled with water that tells you things... :flowers:

Thanks again!


LOL! Yes I do, but it doesn't work for computer issues.... :thumbsup:

You're very welcome! :trumpet:
I cemna prestar aen. Han mathon ne nen. Han mathon ne chae. A han noston ne 'wilith. - Galadriel
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#13 bloomcounty

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 09:27 AM

I thought of one more question, Galadreil -- Should I install Spyware Blaster 4.1 before or after I do the upgrade to AVG 8.0 Free?

Thanks! :thumbsup:

Edited by bloomcounty, 06 August 2008 - 09:28 AM.

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#14 Galadriel

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 11:36 AM

Should I install Spyware Blaster 4.1 before or after I do the upgrade to AVG 8.0 Free?

Thanks! :thumbsup:


It doesn't really matter... up to you. Installing before makes sense though.
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#15 bloomcounty

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 01:25 PM

Okey-doke!

:thumbsup:
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