Ensure that the 'navigate sub-frames for different domains' setting is
changed to 'prompt.'
Finally, click on the 'content' tab. If there are any entries here that
you do not recognize, remove them. In fact, it's a good idea to remove all
entries here as a matter of course. Anyone or any company with an entry here
will be able to install software onto your system without requiring permission
from a user.
Now go to the 'advanced' tab and scroll down until you find the 'enable
install on demand (other)' entry. Uncheck this.
As an even more secure
alternative, you can simply set the 'high' security setting under the 'security'
tab, though this will cause problems viewing some web pages.
For increased security, set all other Active-X referencing options on this
page to 'prompt' or even 'disable.' I would recommend 'prompt' to give you the
maximum choice as you are surfing, though you may find the constant Active-X
prompts annoying. Disabling them is unlikely to significantly affect your web
The most common vector for unwanted installation of spyware programs (besides clicking the 'ok' button without looking) is using low security or incorrect settings of these Active-X control buttons. If your internet security is set to the 'low' setting, or you have manually enabled 'download signed active-x controls,' spyware can be installed on your computer without any further prompt for permission.
By enabling signed active-x controls to run, you have given consent for any
software using a valid security certificate purchased from Verisign or obtained
from another location, to run on your system.
Always ensure that the signed active-x controls option
is set to 'prompt'. Software like Gator is positively friendly next to some
software that can end up installed due to this loophole. Another method of protecting your computer is to use the Windows update feature frequently, since Microsoft generally patches security holes quickly after they are exposed.
Spyware removal utilities
If you suspect that your computer has been infested with
one or more varieties of spyware, the best thing to do first is to install and
run one of the freely available spyware detection and removal tools. Since
manual removal tends to be rather complicated and differs for each program, and
there is no real centralized body of information for dealing with spyware as
there is for Trojan horse and virus programs (www.sarc.com ), using the removal software is certainly the first option.
Lavasoft's Ad-Aware is the most well known of these spyware removal tools.
Now up to version 6, it works essentially like a virus checker, scanning
locations on your computer for the signature files, registry entries and cookies
(tracking files) of well-known spyware programs and websites/vendors. It is
available both in a free personal edition and as a commercial package for
It is extremely easy to use, as it employs
the familiar one-button scan, one button update mechanism seen in most popular
anti-virus packages, and as such will feel familiar to most users. Ad-Aware will
categorize files it finds during a scan, and recommend their removal. Ad-Aware
is available here.