Anti-spyware software helps protect your computer from spyware-software that can monitor your activities on your computer and covertly gather personal information. While the U of S provides network-level security for the campus community, ICT recommends using a software firewall to provide added security to your computer. Spyware programs can send your personal information and usernames and passwords to others that will use the information for their own purposes, possibly to your disadvantage or harm. Installing anti-spyware on your computer can help protect you, but it is just as important to minimize the chance of spyware getting on your computer by using e-mail safely and browsing the Internet safely.
While the U of S provides network-level security for the campus community, ICT recommends that you use anti-spyware software to reduce your risk of being infected. If your computer is managed by IT support personnel, please consult with them regarding appropriate anti-spyware measures for your computer.
If you have Windows XP or Vista, ICT recommends using Microsoft's Windows Defender anti-spyware to protect your computer as it is easy to use and provides reasonable protection from spyware. If you are already using a different anti-spyware product, it is not necessary to switch to Windows Defender.
Windows Defender is included with Windows Vista and is enabled by default.
Windows Defender can be downloaded for free for Windows XP.
If you have Windows 2000, you are encouraged to upgrade your operating system to XP. If it is not possible to upgrade your operating system, ICT recommends using a commercial anti-spyware product as part of your desktop security practices. Commercial products are listed below.
If you have Macintosh or Linux operating systems, ICT recommends using e-mail safely and browsing the Internet safely, but does not currently recommend anti-spyware software. The risk of spyware to Macintosh and Linux operating systems is not high at this time. ICT will continue to monitor the risk to these systems and make recommendations accordingly.
There are a number of commercial anti-spyware products available from vendors such as:
Online scanning services should only be used with caution. Commercial software vendors may include online scanning tools as part of their products; these scanning tools are considered safe to use. Other online spyware checkers and spyware scanning services are not recommended; while some may be effective services, others may be ineffective, malicious and/or sources of spyware.
Please Note: In very rare cases, anti-spyware software can interfere with computer processing (e.g. for research instrument controllers and in video editing situations). Computers that are used for these types of highly-specialized activities should not be used for general purpose Internet browsing in order to minimize the risk of spyware getting on the system.
For general assistance with anti-spyware, contact your local IT support personnel or contact the ICT Help Desk. Support for commercial anti-spyware products is provided by vendors.