What is it about Fathers and Daughters on the internet? In our family, it is always my Dad who gets all the spyware (my sister hardly gets any). In others, it is Daughters. Here are some examples:

– From the Good Morning Silicon Valley Blog: John Paczkowski attributes the following quote to Intel CEO Paul Otellini at the All Things Digital Conference, “Sure, I could get a Mac, but the time I spend with my daughter removing spyware is very precious.”

– Our own Alex Eckelberry (The Blog Machine) has talked about how he has had to clean-up spyware downloaded by his daughter.

– Recently, I was speaking with a local radio talk-show host, Dave Gerber from bitsandbytesradio. He told me he had just spent a good amount of time cleaning spyware off his daughter’s machine.

– Wayne Porter, on Revenews, mentions how his daughter is at risk in her search for games.

– Also from Revenews, they talk about “Mr. Boser, a Spammer, stating that he despises viruses and adware and told a story about how his daughter’s computer was ruined by adware.”

– At the CNET Spyware Workshop, one of the top executives at a major Adware company stated that his daughter had really trashed their computer at home because she had a Spyware infestation. Of course, there is no irony in the world, because he then went on to complain about how the anti-spyware companies couldn’t clean the spyware off their machine.

Notice this affliction is not limited to Hardware People, Software People, Media People, Anti-Spyware People, Spammers, nor Adware People. Everyone’s daughter is getting it.

Inappropriate Sites?

I asked my 70+ year-old Dad, in as stern a tone as I could muster, if he had been to any “inappropriate sites”. His response is unprintable, but I believe him when he said he was just doing “normal” internet tasks. The same can be said for most people’s daughters. It is Smileys and E-cards and other fairly benign activities, yet the infestation happens. For my Dad this is almost forgivable, but it really bugs me that these same types of activities happen to children. Ben Edelman has a ton of info about how this is often happening to children (this link is one of many).

What do we do?

Maybe we should just have a rule that no Father or Daughter should be able to use the internet? I tried that one on my Dad and his response was something about “ungrateful children”. So instead, I had him implement a set of prevention steps, like the ones posted in the Protection Section at Spyware Warrior (obviously for the anti-spyware scanner, I had him use our own product).

Daughters and “Other” Children

What would I recommend for people with daughters and “other” children? Unfortunately, until something is done about the firms that are taking advantage of children, there is little more that we can do except the same type of prevention steps mentioned above, and a lot of education from the parents. We can not expect these firms to see the light, so hopefully my team will continue to find these programs and our product will continue to remove them.

Dave Bove
Spyware Research Manager