I just ran AdAware (which you can get for free by downloading it from their website- I checked it out and it was recommended by a couple of universities, so I figured that was good enough for me). I decided to run it because my computer was not letting me have access when it should. It would go into screen saver and never come out. It would not shut down when I asked it too. And it was asking me for a password in order to get in.

Hey, computer! I call the shots here!

While the AdAware was running I figured I'd get a little blog work done. I was updating my garden blog when the computer started vibrating and an alarm was sounded. Holy shit! It was like my computer was getting an exorcism and there was one hell of a demon in possession!

I clicked on the AdAware and saw a fat, red exclamation mark. Uh-oh, that can't be good, I thought. Is it leprosy, ..the plague, ...ebola?

I clicked on it to see what it had found. A data-miner! A data-miner on my computer! I feel so violated. It was like getting dressed and seeing a peeping tom in your window. Ewwwww!

The program asked me if I wanted to get rid of it. OF COURSE!!!

One click, and now it is history. But I wonder how much of my history it has retrieved, and should I be worried?


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Blogger DrMax said...

This is usually where us smug Mac owners give you our "Tsk, tsk, you should have bought an Apple Computer" speech, but my wife lost a hard drive on her Windows PC to spyware, so I only offer sympathy. If only the hackers that produce this stuff would use their powers for good instead of evil.

July 23, 2005 2:09 PM

Blogger evilsciencechick said...

also try Spybot search and destroy. Also free, and also can pick up bugs that adaware misses. also will immunize your system against more spyware.

(pft! our Mac in the lab gives us more trouble than the two PCs put together! always freezing up for no reason, then refusing to shut off! stupid Mac!)

July 23, 2005 6:32 PM

Blogger Sylvana said...

DrMax- I own a Mac too. The only reason that I got a PC was because it was the only kind that had tablet-laptops. If Mac had that technology I would have been all over that.

ESC- Thanks! I for sure will try that. I have heard of computers with dozens of viruses and spyware on them, so I feel fortunate that I have not had that many. This was the worst by far. I am very careful with the internet, so I guess it is paying off.

July 23, 2005 11:34 PM

Blogger Shannon said...

I work at a non-profit and was given an older computer from a computer lab. It was so riddled with adware and spyware that I couldn't access my email, use Microsoft explorer, run many programs, etc etc. It took me two months to clean that computer. I so feel your pain. Get Spybot. If you still have problems, there are online forums you can consult that will help you go deeper to delete all the crap. Good luck and kick spyware ass!!!

July 24, 2005 11:56 AM

Blogger canuk said...

Sylvana, it is probably recognizing Bravenet. Did it tell you what exactly the target was that it found? AdAware automatically puts a copy of the deletion in quarantine as a safety measure if you happen to delete something needed to make an application run correctly on your computer. In case you don't remember exactly what it said, open AdAware and click on the "Items in Quarantine" then right-click on the object and you can see the name of the object, and the TAC rating it is given. If it is given a 3 or less, I wouldn't worry too much about it. The choice is yours to make.

If it is Bravenet, you can restore from quarantine, and re-run the scan this time, right-click on it and choose "ignore" from the drop down list of options you are given.

A data miner will monitor the user’s activity and send the data back to the company (in this case Bravenet) if you use their product. In your case the guest map is their product. AdAware targeted it on my computer also when I had the guestmap and other products they offered such as their headline service etc. It is used to send targeted advertising. As you can see when you open your guestmap, an ad will display.

Hope that helps.

July 24, 2005 3:02 PM

Blogger evilsciencechick said...

also, using Firefox instead of IE will cut down on spyware. again...FREE!



sorry...getting off the soapbox now...

July 24, 2005 5:24 PM

Blogger OldRoses said...

Only 1 data miner?????? You're very fortunate. We used to use Ad-Aware at work. It would pick up hundred of nasties on the users desktops every time I ran it. Which was weekly!

July 24, 2005 10:00 PM

Blogger Lyvvie said...

Wow. I'm so happy I have a Husband to do all that stuff for me. I don't even know what a Data-Miner is! (Although nice image of Data from STNG doing some mining).

I do know that we have Linux and that this sort of thing can't happen here (touch wood because I'm a complete computer jinx, I break unbreakable things).

July 25, 2005 12:41 AM

Blogger Sask 1 said...

Ive got adware and spybot as well.I run them every morning

July 25, 2005 10:07 AM

Blogger The Doc said...

Hey Lyvie, where do you get a Husband? Is it freeware or do you have to pay for it? I wish I had a Husband to fix my computer for me...

July 25, 2005 11:25 AM

Blogger Scott said...

Sylvana, it depends what your history is. Tell it to us and we'll decide if you should be worried.

July 25, 2005 2:17 PM

Blogger Maria said...

My Ad-Aware has never found that in my computer. That buzzing noize it makes when it's done scanning still makes me jump.

July 25, 2005 6:54 PM

Blogger Sylvana said...

Shannon- Deeper?! Is this pack a lunch deeper, or just light snack deeper?

Canuk- Hey, I saw Big Red Exclamation Point and that was good enough for me!
My Bravenet account still seems to be running fine, but it is good to know that it could be that.

ESC- I AM using Firefox! Maybe that is why only one got through...that I know about.

OldRoses- I have heard others say the same thing. I guess my careful internet use is paying off.

Lyvvie- Electronics tend to rebel against me too. I like to say it is because I have a strong magnetic field, but maybe it is just because I like to see how much work and versatility I can get out of a product.

June- Every morning? Wow! You are more careful than I am!

The Doc- I think they come in different styles because I have a Husband and he didn't come with those capabilities.

Scott- I laughed out loud! Funny.

Maria- I never heard it before. I always have my volume turned off. I had turned it on to hear bird calls. FYI- my mystery bird is a catbird.

July 25, 2005 10:01 PM

Blogger sideshow bob said...

It was me the whole time!!! Ahahahahaha!!!!

July 26, 2005 1:09 AM

Blogger DrMax said...

Honestly, I don't want to start a flame war with evilsciencechick, I'm not saying Macs are problem free, Windows is a fine OS.

But in the four years I've owned my G4 Mac, this is the number of virus, worms, spyware and adware problems I have had to deal with....0. That's none, ziltch, nadda.

I know it's because Mac is not worth a busy hacker's time. However, when I see the number of comments Sylvana generated with a simple post about data mining, I'll gladly stick with my second rate system.

July 26, 2005 1:22 AM

Blogger evilsciencechick said...


nah, me neither. I just like to give crap to Mac people because they're always giving it to me.

no offence meant, drmax!

July 26, 2005 9:49 AM

Blogger Sylvana said...

SSB- What are you looking for? Do you think I'm keeping secrets from you?

DrMax- I love Macs and I would far prefer to use one. The actual casing on Mac laptops are way sturdier and the operating system is cleaner.

ESC- Mac users are passionate to obnoxiousness about their Macs because they are really that great! Ah, Mac. I love thee so.
(comeon now! I want a flame war!!!!)

July 26, 2005 9:30 PM

Blogger evilsciencechick said...


ummm...Ok, that's all I got. I'm not really good at flame wars.

July 26, 2005 10:19 PM

Blogger Sylvana said...

ESC- Yeah, well Microsoft is a Mac knock-off, so it gets Mac's sloppy second on those BIG HAIRY DONKEY BALLS!!

Yeah, I'm not that great at them either. But at least we gave it a shot. It's hard to get enthused on a Wednesday.

July 27, 2005 8:22 AM

Blogger DrMax said...

OH, IT IS SO ON ESC!!! HAIRY DONKEY BALLS? Well Window PCs can only dream of being DONKEY BALLS! Yeah, they're like the balls on some other animal...ahhh....that smells and is stupid...and....ummm....oh, hell, I got nothin.

July 27, 2005 2:32 PM

Blogger Sylvana said...


July 28, 2005 9:17 AM