Thursday, 04 November, 2004

I've found with a lot of computers that I've been asked to fix tend to break down as a result of a spyware infestation. Most of the time this due to Internet Explorer and its tendency to run any ActiveX that comes its way.

The war against spyware is being fought on many fronts. We have packages such as "Spybot Search and Destroy" and Grisoft's "AVG antivirus" which are both excellent ways of removing the junk. But how do you stop this stuff accumulating in the first place?

This is where passive techniques come in to play. have produced a list of bad ActiveX controls and they've created a registry file that prevents these bad ActiveX controls from ever running in the first place. Techniques like this are really cool in my opinion because they're free and they offer a very effective countermeasure against the threat of spyware.

There's one problem though and that's the act of getting these list on to the PC's that need them the most. It's the problem of distribution! I might install this month's blocklist when I fix a friends computer but what about next month when there's a another twenty pieces of spyware to defend against?

Here's where a bit of software I've written comes in. It's called the ActiveX Blocker service. It sits in the background and periodically downloads and reapplies the list. I can install my service on all the machines I mend and be confident that at least some basic spyware protection is in place and hopefully the result will be that the machine breaks less often. That's good for them and for me!

The program is distributed under the GPL and is available to download here. Enjoy!


21:19:49 GMT | #Programming | Permalink
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