Reduce spyware infections by educating users

Get suggestions on the best methods for reducing spyware, adware and malware on users' PCs in this ITKnowledge Exchange Tip of the Week.

The following is the ITKnowledge Exchange Tip of the Week for Feb.28, 2005.

Question

"112233" writes:
I would like to implement something to reduce the chances of users being hit by spyware, adware and malware while surfing the Internet. What kind of systems would you recommend?

Responses

  • "Telecomking" writes: There are two primary approaches to this problem: the centralized approach and the distributed approach. Which one you choose depends on your environment. If you have a large enterprise, you might want to look at a proxy server like the Blue Coat Systems with Websense content filtering, which has some functionality to control the problem. If you have a smaller network and you have more control over the users' PCs, you might want to consider something like: Pest Patrol, Spy Catcher, etc. You can find some articles at the following links: http://www.infoworld.com/article/04/10/01/40FEspyreview_1.html and http://www.nwfusion.com/bg/2004/spyware/index.jsp?docid=5035.

    Also, don't underestimate the power of policy and user awareness education. Usually, this type of software is loaded from a user's activity on the Web. If you can convince your users to behave themselves, you'll see fewer problems.

  • "bobkberg" writes: First off, I'd like to say what a good response Telecomking had. Much of what I've got to say is a follow up.

    Most larger organizations are turning to user education. I myself do a 30-minute presentation to groups called "The State of Spyware," and it's had a good effect in terms of educating people to the sorts of problems that occur with spyware -- and in getting them to curtail some of their own activity. Another approach that anybody (with the time) can do for free is to set up a copy of snort to watch the Internet connection when using the bleeding-edge malware/virus rules from bleedingsnort.com. They're not perfect (which is why they're on bleeding snort), but they do an amazing job of catching things -- and if you've got one system with some identifiable stuff on it, chances are there's more as well.

  • Get additional recommendations here.

  • More Information from SearchWindowsSecurity.com

  • Topics: Malware Learning Guide
  • Tip: Choosing your spyware weapons: Ad-Aware vs. Spybot
  • Checklist: Get Joe User to limit his own actions
  • Opinion: The spy(ware) who shagged me
  • Best Web Links: Windows Security Threats

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