A lesson in spyware

Simple concept?

She also suggested that before I downloaded anything I could always search online to see what other people thought. Or, I should check with someone like Toby (her son who is, apparently, a guru.)

That cleared things up a great deal in my mind. Spyware is simple to understand.

Then, in order to keep my computer up to date, I decided to check my copy of Windows for updates. I followed the links and was told that some of my Windows components required an upgrade.

Apparently, to use Microsoft Update, I first had to install the latest version of some Windows components. That would allow my computer to work with these new features on the site: More updates, faster updates, easier navigation.

You can see for yourself what it told me:

Microsoft update window

That sounded great, so I downloaded it. It was fine, so I told my friend about it and he downloaded it as well. But suddenly...

His computer's behaviour changed in ways he didn't want. His machine slowed down, pop ups that he didn't want to see started to appear. Some of them asked him for money. This wasn't what either of us expected, so I started to look into the problem. After a great deal of work I found out that we had actually downloaded a program called the Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool. This program tests to see if your machine has a genuine copy of Windows.


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