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A Spyware Question and More Details on Killing Unwanted Processes

Sunday, February 13, 2005; Page F07

Each time I run Spybot Search & Destroy, it tells me I have instances of something called "DSO Exploit." But it never can remove it. What is this?

If you've installed all of Microsoft's security updates for Windows and Internet Explorer -- you are keeping up with them, right? -- you can ignore that message. It refers to a vulnerability, not an actual spyware infection, and with the latest Microsoft patches, it no longer represents a danger.

_____Recent Columns_____
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Apple Dots Some More 'i's (The Washington Post, Feb 20, 2005)
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An item in the frequently-asked-questions file at the Spybot Web site (www.spybot.info) explains that Spybot will incorrectly keep detecting this issue due to a bug in its programming. "This little bug in Spybot-S&D has already been repaired and the respective fix will soon be available as a program update," it adds.

This brings up one of my complaints with Spybot in particular, and many spyware programs in general: They do a poor job of distinguishing between real problems and potential issues. People have enough to worry about online these days without having security programs that freak out over nonexistent threats.

I followed your directions from last Sunday's column but couldn't get that list of active processes in my copy of Windows 98 SE.

Last week's item about how to identify the software active on a computer was written for Windows XP, as are most of my Help File items. In this case, however, I should have made that clear upfront, as the directions I offered won't work in earlier versions of Windows that lack XP's Task Manager.

You can, however, get a similar view of what's active in older Windows systems by running various add-on programs. Try, for example, X-RayPC (www.x-raypc.com), a free, fast and simple download.

-- Rob Pegoraro

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or rob@twp.com.

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