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Out came SpyCop (http://www.spycop.org) and Raytown Corp’s Anti Keylogger, then later PrivacyKeyboard (http://www.privacykeyboard.com). These are still some of best available. SpyCop scans a database of keyloggers definitions that is constantly updated, much like anti virus programs do. PrivacyKeyboard is a little different. It claims to simply block one and only method that keyloggers and screen shot recorders can use to capture data. Nevertheless, these programs really do work in their quest to block and weed out spy programs.
Today there are many generic brands of spy removers, dubbed “anti-spyware” programs. They do detect keyloggers, but also can scan for adware and other Trojans, pests, dangerous scripts and worms. Anti-spyware products are effective, but generally cannot block all keyloggers.
More dangers in spy market Some marketers disguise their spyware products as anti-spyware to get even more confidential information from targets. They also give false-positive readings on their supposedly “free spyware scans” to convert fasters sales. Generally I would advise steering clear of those heavily advertised products that have nothing more than a one-page ad for their product.
Another thing to look out for? Keyloggers have now gone remote. Imagine you remote controlling a PC and monitor it from afar? Well with RemoteSpy (http://www.remotespyware.com), Spytech Realtime Spy (http://www.spytech-realtime-spy.com), I SpyNow (http://www.i-spyware.com) Smart Keylogger (http://www.smart-keylogger.com) and other programs you can! They send out as a Trojan-type file to monitor a computer. You do not even need access to machine. These products can be stopped with a good anti-spyware product, but once there on your PC they become hard to remove. This is especially true with Realtime Spy and SpyAgent because they are equipped with anti-spyware disable features. SaveKeys Undetecable by Alpine Snow (http://www.alpinesnow.com) claims to be impossible to detect by anti-keyloggers and anti-spyware programs.
So it is no longer spy vs. spy, but spy vs. spy vs. spy! Who knows what they’ll think of next? One thing is certain: This keylogger vs. spy software saga will continue for a long time, since these programs are now as common as firewalls and anti-virus.
Bad Spy Vs. Good Spy This is important. Most “Anti Spy” software sucks. Most just delete cookies, a few common keyloggers and pests, and are made by flash-in-the-pan companies that can’t afford to make updates as new threats arise. These “anti-spy” programs are simply sold as marketing gimmicks to scare people into believe they are “being spied on” to make quick coin.
There are good products, however, but be sure to do a lot of research before buying anti-spyware software. Most spy software is decent, user-friendly and useful… The problem is that they are fairly easy to catch. Choose a program like NetVizor (http://www.spytech-netvizor.com) or Net Spy Pro (http://www.system-spy.com) if you are running a business and want to monitor for security reasons. If want to monitor your kids, use NetNanny or IamBigBorther (http://www.parentalspy.com), which are parental monitoring tools.
Be careful using spy software, as it is now illegal and considered espionage to spy on competitors or on computers you do not own or administrate. Only time will tell what spy software marketplace will evolve into, but for now it appears that developers will keep updating anti spyware programs to combat spyware and spyware will continue to tweak and morph itself to hide from anti-spyware. I surmise this will continue until some sort of strong legislation or court precedence clearly outlaws one or other. But until then… spy and spy-ers beware!
Luigi Di Serio is the owner of Top Secret Software one of the largest security and spy software retailers on the web.