Archive for January, 2014

How not to waste money, part 1


A bit less than a year ago, unaware of the perils of Windows8, I replaced my computer. The deal included a year of McAfee anti-virus. On previous computers I had used AVG Free with no trouble, but it seemed silly to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I took it.

A few months ago I started getting unexpected pop-ups on Firefox. They were obvious scams – click on this and get so-and-so – so I quite happily ignored them, blocked the URLs, and that was that.

Then a week or two ago I noticed my audio editor was running slowly and two of the buttons on the interface had stopped working. Thinking hard, I remembered this had happened once before, and tried to remember how I had dealt with it.

Then, particularly with the pop-ups in mind, it came to me – spyware! The earlier problem was, presumably, that something was sending my keystrokes to somewhere or other. The buttons that didn’t work in the audio program were press-and-hold items, which would give the spyware thousands of “keystrokes” to transmit.

So I downloaded a free anti-spyware program and ran it. It found and removed 52 undesirable items, which McAfee had not detected, or had even, perhaps, intentionally let through.

The McAfee free year will run out soon. Anyone guess whether I’ll be renewing it?