SpywareBlaster is a program that restricts the actions of potentially dangerous sites by adding a list of sites and domains associated with known spyware, advertisers and marketers to the browser's "Restricted Sites Zone". It prevents the installation of ActiveX-based malware, browser hijackers, dialers, and other potentially unwanted software and blocks tracking cookies. SpywareBlaster allows you to create a System Snapshot...an image of various system settings. This feature can be used to restore important browser and system settings to their previous state if your computer is ever infected with spyware or altered by unwanted programs. Under the Tools section Hosts Safe allows you to store encrypted backup copies of the HOSTS file which can be used to restore (roll-back to a previous state) if the HOSTS file becomes corrupted or altered by malware infection...see Javacoolsoftware Support: What is a Hosts file? Other settings allow you to disable and block Flash in Internet Explorer, add Custom Blocking and more.
How does SpywareBlaster actually work? It adds sites to the restricted zones by adding the domain as a subkey under the registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\ZoneMap\Domains. A dword is then added to that domain named * and given a hex value of 4 to specify that it is part of the Restricted Sites Zone. More specifically, Spywareblaster sets the "killbit" on the CLSID (Class ID) of known spyware. Every program has a CLSID that is unique to the type of program. Once Spywareblaster enables (writes) those killbits they are "locked in" and any identified spyware cannot be opened. Spywareblaster writes these killbits in and then stays off until you need to re-write them again with an update. Why is all this important? Some types of malware are known to alter Trusted Zones, Ranges and ProtocolDefaults set for a browser.
SpywareBlaster is not intrusive since the program does not run in the background and provide real-time protection like other security tools. Instead it focuses on prevention and passive protection without utilizing unnecessary running processes or consuming system (CPU, memory) resources. The program only requires installation and then enabling of all protection. After that you only have to check periodically for database updates using the built-in "Check for Updates" feature and then enable all protection again. Since SpywareBlaster does not use a real-time protection module, it supplements your existing security software without causing any conflicts. SpywareBlaster can be used with Internet Explorer and many other popular browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Netscape, Seamonkey, Flock...see here.
If you're not sure how to use SpywareBlaster, please refer to the How to use SpywareBlaster to protect your computer tutorial. In addition to explaining how to use the tool, the tutorial covers other built-in tools and features.
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.
The first step is to click on the System Snapshot button on the left. If this is your first time using it, you will want to create a snapshot of your system. You should select the radio button that is labeled Create new System Snapshot and press the Go button. Give the snap shot a name that you will remember and make sure the Append date + time to the end of the snapshot name checkbox is checked. When this is done, press the Create Snapshot button to continue. SpywareBlaster will then save the settings on your computer into a database. When it is done you can press the Finish button.
In the future, if you want to restore this backup you can choose the System Snapshot section and then select the radio button for Restore System to Saved Snapshot Point and press the Go button. You should click once on a snapshot to select it and then press the Next button. If there were any changes from your current settings compared to the ones saved in the snapshot, it will notify you and give you the option to restore them. Otherwise it will tell you there was no difference in your current settings to the ones in the snapshot.
The tools sections contains 5 different tools that you can use on your computer. For most people the only tool I recommend is the Hosts Safe tool. The other tools can cause other Spyware removal tools to view it as a modification made by a Hijacker and should be only used by advanced users.
IE Browser Pages: This tool allows you to change various Browser Pages such as your default Blank Page, or the default search page. Unless you know what you are doing it is recommended that you leave this alone.
Misc IE Settings: This allows you to disable the Internet Tools control panel in your Windows Control Panel. I would leave this unchecked unless you have a good reason. The other option lets you change the text next to the web pages title in your browser windows and is just for cosmetics.
Hosts Safe: This tool is one that I recommend that most users use at least once. This will back up your HOSTS file, which is commonly used by Hijackers, to an encrypted file that can be restored from at a later date. Please use this tool at least once so that you have an available backup.
Flash Killer: This will disable Flash files from being run within your browser. Unless you will never need to use Flash, I would suggest you not use this option as many legitimate sites use flash.
Custom Blocking: This allows you to add custom ActiveX CLSID's that you want to block from running on your computer. This tool should only be used by an advanced user.
For more information, read: