Others who work in CIT, or any other campus IT staff, please feel free to
For faculty and staff machines I would recommend attempting to install XP
SP2 before running a spyware scan. If the SP2 install fails, this is the
time that I would definitely try a scan for spyware. My comments to
IT-DISCUSS were unfortunately vague, but I was referring to our
back-to-school experience where (almost) every student Windows computer we
helped to fix had copious amounts of spyware on it and hindered the SP2
Since UVM does not carry a site license for spyware prevention software
(well, not really, see my Symantec comments below), I can only
unofficially endorse Spybot Search & Destroy coupled with Ad-Aware as what
works best for free spyware dection tools. More information about those
products is available in an old IT Newsletter article:
and rudimentary install instructions for Spybot S&D are available at:
We have Spybot S&D on our software download site, www.uvm.edu/software
Ad-aware is available from www.download.com.
These products do not auto-update, and Spybot S&D only provides some
proactive functionality. Questions about usage should be directed to the
CIT Helpline, or you can try the Help file of the program.
A for-fee product that works incredibly well and is very proactive is CA's
PestPatrol. All credit for finding this gem goes to John Ritter of School
of Business Administration, since he spent (a year? two years?)
researching spyware prevention products then gave a great presentation of
his recommendation, PestPatrol, at the IT Standards meeting last year.
It's $29.95 per license unless you purchase in bulk and mentioned your
educational affiliation. You can purchase PestPatrol from
http://www.pestpatrol.com/ and as far as I know, UVM is no closer to
considering a site license of any spyware prevention product. We use
PestPatrol in my other 50% allocation, College of Ag & Life Sciences. We
do not have a college-wide license, but the IT staff has purchased it and
we are happy with its abilities so recommend it to the college's faculty
and staff if their computers are having problems with spyware. I
personally have set PestPatrol to auto-update its detection files each
time I physically open the PestPatrol panel, which means I don't need to
think about keeping it current. PestPatrol is proactive, it zaps stuff
before it creeps onto your computer.
Symantec Antivirus version 9 does provide some threat scanning, which
means it does search for some typical spyware on computers, but they just
jumped into the spyware detection business and do not claim to be anywhere
near as good at spyware detection as any of the aforementioned products.
As I mentioned in the Back-to-School UVM IT Newsletter, US-CERT has
published spyware prevention tips at:
On Thu, 9 Sep 2004, CIT Helpline wrote:
> Gail sent this to the helpline the other day. Thought it provided some
> interesting info.
> Consultant(s) On Duty:
> kate, Ivan, Mike, Marty
> +------ C I T -- H E L P L I N E ---------------------------------------+
> | CIT Helpline: 6-2604 (ph) [log in to unmask] (e) www.uvm.edu/~helpline |
> | We encourage submission of questions via e-mail to: [log in to unmask] |
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Gail Starks <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Fwd: XP SP2 and spyware don't mix
> Date: Wed, 08 Sep 2004 08:25:58 -0400
> Good Morning,
> Should I assume UVM is suggesting we do this - check for spyware before
> installing service pack 2? If yes, does UVM have a preferred piece of
> ,software to check for spyware?
> Thanks for your clarification.
> >X-X-Sender: [log in to unmask]
> >Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2004 09:19:41 -0400
> >Reply-To: Technology Discussion at UVM <[log in to unmask]>
> >Sender: Technology Discussion at UVM <[log in to unmask]>
> >From: Stefanie Ploof <[log in to unmask]>
> >Subject: XP SP2 and spyware don't mix
> >Comments: cc: [log in to unmask]
> >To: [log in to unmask]
> >As if we didn't know firthand, it was kind of CNN to write an article
> >about it:
> >"Spyware interferes with Microsoft patch
> >SEATTLE, Washington (AP) -- Though Microsoft Corp.'s new security update
> >package is all about protecting systems from worms, viruses and spyware,
> >it can't do much about what's already on computers -- and that could pose
> >a problem.
> >The company is warning users of the Windows XP operating system to check
> >for spyware before downloading the free massive security update, called
> >Service Pack 2."
> >Rest of article at:
> >Perhaps I am in a microcosm of spyware prevention, but I honestly expected
> >the article to at least mention Spybot Search & Destroy. It is the best
> >product to couple with Ad-aware for free spyware prevention. (Thanks to
> >John Ritter who did so much research so the rest of us didn't need to, I
> >think PestPatrol is the best not-free software out there.)