Friday, November 30, 2007

HijackThis is Goodware

I occasionally get worried calls from friends saying they have seen our brand turn up on the Internet listed in a long list of programs under the heading "Hijack This".

This certainly does happen. A quick search on Google for "Authentium" will come up with several examples of logs created by folks who have downloaded and used the software, and discovered our software among other programs in their Startup menu.

Authentium says: stop worrying. "HijackThis" is a "goodware" utility program with an unnecessarily-scary name that is owned and maintained by Trend Micro. It enables consumers to quickly create log files containing details on all programs listed in their StartupList, and root out spyware and other potential nasties.

It's really something that only sophisticated users should use. As Trend Micro itself says, "HijackThis does not determine what is good or bad. Do not make any changes to your computer settings unless you are an expert computer user."

That said, it's a useful tool. Here's a short description from

If persistent spyware is bogging down your computer, you might need HijackThis. The tiny program examines vulnerable or suspect parts of your system, such as browser helper objects and certain types of Registry keys.

Pressing the Scan button generates a log of dozens of items, most of which are just customizations. Don't check off an item and hit the
Fix checked button unless you're sure it's malware.

Info on selected item tells you why the entry was flagged as suspicious, but not whether it's actually malware. To find that out, search the Web for that item's name or go straight to a forum, such as SpywareInfo or Computer Cops. Saving the log creates a text document you can post to these forums.

The latest version adds powerful tools to the Config window. The process manager and hosts file editor help you excise virulent infections. The unique ADS Spy tool scans for alternate data streams, which some browser hijackers use to hide from spyware removers.

The program still installs into whatever directory in which you unzip the file, which can make it hard to locate. HijackThis is a serious tool for any user who needs to root out a serious infestation, but wield it with caution.

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