Even as adware and spyware evolve into more aggressive forms, antispyware utilities are becoming more effective at combating these pernicious pests. Webroots Spy Sweeper 3.0 improves on the capabilities of Spy Sweeper 2.2, our previous Editors Choice, with solid (if still imperfect) spyware-removal capabilities, an improved interface, and the most effective real-time blocking weve seen yet. Although Spy Sweeper couldnt fully counter the effects of all adware and spyware in our testing, it remains the best single product that weve used in this category.
Spy Sweepers extensive real-time blocking notified us immediately when it detected browser and home-page hijacking efforts, alterations to our HOSTS file (which can redirect requests intended for one domain to another), and additions to the list of programs that Windows runs at start-up. It also detected spyware processes attempting to run and offered the opportunity to block the suspect program once or permanently. While most of the real-time spyware-blocking systems weve tested have been only marginally effective—often detecting spyware only after installation was complete and the program was already well-ensconced—Spy Sweeper often managed to detect suspect behavior early enough to prevent spyware from installing successfully at all.
Spy Sweepers full-system scan was both rapid and effective in identifying infestations. We like Spy Sweepers expandable tree view of detected spyware and summary of each threat but wish it included a way to ignore tracking cookies so we could focus on the more immediate threats posed by actual spyware and adware applications.
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