What programs are running in the background?, Part 2

Dennis Faas's picture

Last week, Stan L. Jr. sent in a question which asked what should be done when a program attempts to suddenly "call home" and request a connection to the Internet. Recall:

" A few days ago, I was using my computer when all the sudden, I noticed that some program decided that it wanted to access the Internet.

I tried to cancel the request to connect to the Internet, but the bugger kept coming back asking for a connection. I then decided to try the "3 finger salute" by pressing CTRL + ALT + DEL at the same time to bring up Task Manager, but no programs were listed here that seemed to be "out of the ordinary" that might have been attempting to access the Internet.

Is there a program which can run in the background, keeping track of who is making calls to other programs like the dialer? Or, does it already exist in W98SE? "

My suggestion to Stan was to grab some free software off the 'net which would tell him which programs are currently running in the background. I also asked the readers of the Gazette newsletter to send me in their thoughts on Stan's dilemma.

About 95% of those who emailed me with a suggestion highly praised Zone Alarm -- a free software firewall which tells you which program is attempting to access the Internet, plus it blocks potential hack attempts.

I also use Zone Alarm, and completely forgot to mention it in last week's answer, as my solution was more focused on seeing which programs are actively running in the background (regardless of whether or not they attempt to access the 'net at any given moment). I guess it goes to show you that Infopackets Readers are always helpful and "on the ball".

Another excellent program to consider is Lavasoft's Adaware -- it scans (and cleans) your computer for Adware and Spyware programs which frequently attempt to access the Internet without you knowing about it.

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