Microsoft has released a beta version of their new AntiSpyware software and it is available for download at this link. Paul Thurrot’s SuperSite for Windows has a detailed overview of this program and the technology used behind the scenes. I installed AntiSpyware this morning and had a surprise waiting for me. I run a protected system with Antivirus software and Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware program and keep them updated religiously so they always catch the latest spyware/ malware. The first thing I did after installing the MS AntiSpyware program was have the software do a quick scan of my system which took about 5 minutes. Much to my surprise it found one spyware program called webHancer which according to the popup window is a "spyware program that loads upon system startup whose sole function is to report web site tracking information". Wow!
Further examination showed the spyware was installed by a program I have used for a long time and even recommended to others- Aladdin’s Internet Cleanup. This utility is a commercial program that makes it easy to clean out temporary Internet Explorer files, clean the cookies out, and remove history lists from IE and other programs. Imagine how surprised I was to find this program as the source of the webHancer spyware. The whole premise behind Internet Cleanup is to protect the privacy of the user. Needless to say I let AntiSpyware remove the offending webHancer from my system but guess what? After removal every time I started the browser or right-clicked on any document icon Internet Cleanup automatically ran Windows Installer in an attempt to put it back on my system. I must say I feel very betrayed by Aladdin and won’t be buying any of their software again. Jerks.