May 2004 Newsletter


Your Source for Free Online PC Tests & Diagnostics


Special Report: The FTC Spyware Workshop

On April 19th, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had a day-long workshop focusing on the growing spyware and adware problem. That’s the good news. The bad news? Most of the people in the room seemed to be lawyers, and a good number of them worked for spyware and adware companies.

It’s not just that spyware is widespread, but its effects are ruining computers. Jeffrey Friedberg of Microsoft says their Windows crash statistics indicate almost HALF of all crashes are due to spyware and adware. Maureen Cushman of Dell said that spyware-related problems are the number one reason that their customers call for technical support.

Some states are moving to fill the void left by slow action at the federal level. On the last panel of the day, Utah state representative Stephen Urquhart explained his recently passed bill to stop adware and spyware. Utah is being sued by adware maker WhenU, which claims that the law restricts their rights. Perhaps the best line uttered all day came from Urquart, who said, “We can’t call these people consumers, they’re victims.”

PC Pitstop sponsored a pre-workshop get together of several user advocates in the spyware/adware removal field, and we discussed ways to cooperate to help more users and stop the spread of spyware.

Want to know more about the workshop? Check out our links:
Rob’s letter
BillP’s blog
Eric Howe
FTC page

It’s not too late to tell the FTC what you think about the spyware problem and what to do about it. You can still submit your comments through May 21, use this link:
(sorry, the FTC comment period is closed!)

Give Your PC A
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Inadequate Disclosure By Claria/Gator and WhenU

As part of our participation in the FTC Spyware Workshop, PC Pitstop conducted some research on two large adware makers, Claria (formerly Gator) and WhenU. Both of these companies swear up and down that they clearly notify their users and get permission to install. However, our survey of Claria and WhenU users showed that more than three-quarters of them were not even aware that the software was even installed on the PC! How can that kind of “notification” be considered adequate? See our new research here

Continued Attacks Against Anti-Spyware Sites

Unknown spyware makers are continuing their attacks against sites that help users remove spyware and other PC threats. This month, Computer Cops ( was the victim of a multi-day denial-of-service (DoS) attack. Other sites such as have been hit as well. PC Pitstop’s main site has not been affected, but our forums have experienced several periods of slow performance that may be due to these attacks.

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Without Spending A Dime!

Optimize! Customize! Clean Up! You don’t need a lot of expensive software to make Windows look prettier or perform better. There are many inexpensive or zero-cost ways to improve Windows, if you know what to do or know where to look. Each month in PC Today we’ll give you several ways to improve your PC. Discover how today. Click the link for a trial issue, it’s free!
Try PC Today.

Where’s Your Newsletter?

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Solve Your PC Problems At The Pit

Need some help figuring out a tough computer problem? Can’t seem to shake some spyware or a virus? Stop by the PC Pitstop Forums–we call it “The Pit”. It’s free and friendly!
The Pit

About PC Pitstop

PC Pitstop, LLC ( was formed in February 2000, and offers users a unique way to make sure their PCs are running fast, stable and secure–all through a free, Web-based interface.

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