IT & the Lawyer


The main problem with spyware is that people outside the tech world do not know it exists. In Who Downloaded the Spyware? Not Me! Chris Hayes defines it in its broadest terms as any programme that is downloaded onto your PC to collect information about you and your behaviour on the Internet. By tracking users, website owners are able to learn more about customer preferences and to help the website owner sell advertising space. This insidious software is used by news sites, industry portals, search engines, shopping sites and travel sites to build databases for the purposes of targeted advertising.

Merely having your habits documented is intrusive, stealing personal information such as your credit card number or PIN number when you bank online is an outrage that can lead to identity theft and fraud. What to do?

The author suggests the following steps:
(1)install anti-spyware software and (2), in an office environment, install your own "domestic spyware" to monitor employee Internet usage. These programs should be in addition to your (1) firewall, anti-virus and anti-spam software. He recommends a free anti-spyware programme Spybot Search and Destroy which is recommended by PC World Magazine and which will search all your drives for spyware.

It is probably advisable however to get a commercially package for a law firm which has the ability to effect speedy execution, to include/exclude certain drives, IDs, etc., and the availability of technical support to troubleshoot problems in a complex network. To help you make the right decision, read the Editors' Choices in the April issue of PC Magazine and the recommendations in the July issue of PC World.

The article ends with a discussion of "domestic spyware" or Employee Internet Monitoring "EIM" which is used to prevent employees from visiting certain sites, downloading excessive amounts of videos and music files which use excessive bandwidth and otherwise just surfing.

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