The electric underworld of spy ware - Ed Brock

They stood in a lineup before me. The sophisticated Lopdotcom and his dumb vicious brother Lop Hijacker, the sexy but deadly Alexa Toolbar and the enigmatic CWS_NS3.

And then there was the Cookie family! There had to be at least 20 of them!

Filthy Cyber-spy scum, the lot of them! They had buried themselves deep in the well-ordered society of my hard drive, but we had dragged them out into the light.

But what was this? What was ZeroPopup doing here? Isn't it his job to protect me from those noxious popup ads I so detest?

Perhaps the chief of my Secret Police Program, Herr SpyKiller, had been overzealous in his duty. But to question Herr SpyKiller's authority before this rabble could encourage further dissent, so ZeroPopup's silent plea for mercy must go unheeded.

Anyway, I'll admit that I'm a little afraid myself of Herr SpyKiller. I may be the User, but SpyKiller and his minions are quickly growing beyond my control.

He's pesky, too, always popping up to ask me if I really want to add that Web site to my Favorites list, or if I really approve of the new download. Certainly that is his job, but it sometimes feels like I'm being second-guessed.

And I don't dare shut him down. When I do he reminds me, and rightly so, that I would be left defenseless before my enemies without him on guard.

So, I order SpyKiller to execute, or should I say delete, the accused spies. But for all I know it was already too late. Surely they had had time to report back to their masters, informing them about my shopping habits, my e-mail address, my favorite porn sites.

Uh, not that I have any of those, but if I did.

And now that I've killed ZeroPopup, will I now be subject to that kind of attack? Well, frankly he never did his job very well, anyway, since the popups are still, well, popping up.

Yes, maybe he is a spy after all, one with the intent of luring me into a false sense of security! Good job, Herr SpyKiller!

It's disturbing to think that, even with the highly efficient SpyKiller in my employ, there could still be spyware programs lurking in the back alleys of my circuit boards, plotting, perhaps conspiring with the viruses.

Like the real world, my computer domain teeters always on the brink of disaster. My enemies surround me, circling my firewall, probing for weaknesses.

And time and the odds are on their side. No defense is perfect, and eventually I know my hard drive will crash.

But we must fight on, we must defend our freedom to peruse the Internet for commerce and amusement. We cannot allow ourselves to be intimidated by these, these, electronic terrorists!

Viva la Computer! Viva SpyKiller!

May my modem be swift and sure in the defense of my right to download in privacy and security!

Ed Brock covers public safety and municipalities for the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or via e-mail at ebrock@news-daily.com.