No Spyware here

Computer users around the world are worried about the effects of software downloaded onto their computers without their knowledge while they browse the Internet.

‘Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.’ – Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Computer users around the world are worried, and rightly so. Worried about the effects of Spyware – software downloaded onto their computers without their knowledge while they browse the Internet. Software that can steal their identities, their credit card information and eventually crash their computers.

But with every threat, there’s an opportunity. And where there’s an opportunity, there’s lots of money to be made. And the Spyware threat has proved no different from any other.

Let’s take a look at the activities of the chaps at the Renegade Cowboy Software (RCS) Company, as a case in point.

When the RCS fellas realised just how paranoid the worldwide PC user base had become about the Spyware problem, they decided there was plenty of dosh to be made. And so, with very little capital outlay – nothing in fact – they used Web sites, email and banner ads to drive unsuspecting consumers to the RCS site where they promised them immediate relief from their Spyware headaches.

That’s right. Once on the RCS site, users could have their computers remotely scanned for free, just to see if they had been infected by Spyware. If they were, of course, it was then only a simple case of downloading and running the RCS software to eliminate the Spyware threat for good. For a small fee, of course.

What they didn’t know, however, was that the RCS ‘software scan’ in question always returned the same result: a rather Startling Message that confirmed that, yes indeed, it had discovered some rather malicious Spyware on the user’s machine.

And inevitably, of course, the terrified user immediately forked up his $20 or so as quickly as possible to download and then run the RCS ‘Spyware software’ removal tool.

The tool itself, of course, was just as ‘useful’ as the remote software scan. Even when the user’s computers were free of all Spyware, the RCS Spyware software reported that spyware had been detected in files and folders that, in some cases, were actually empty!

Inevitably, the bad boys at the Renegade Cowboy Software Company were eventually exposed; the large government body ordered them to stop making any more ridiculous claims and to remunerate the users they had misled.

Since then, the entrepreneurs at RCS have gone on to bigger and better things. Renaming themselves the Department of Homeland Software Security (DHSS), their new software claims to be able to remotely determine how close your home is to an Al Qaeda cell…

Dave Wilson