Tenebril's SpyCatcher 2006

This new anti-spyware app casts a wide net to catch malware on your system. But is it catching the right things?

October 12, 2005

3 Min Read
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SpyCatcher begins with a configuration wizard that takes users through preferences, starting with a first spyware scan option. You can choose Quick, Deep or Custom methods (the Custom method lets you check memory, registry or disks). You can also decide whether and when to schedule automatic scans as well as what level of protection to choose. Tenebril recommends Medium protection because High will quarantine suspicious applications you may want to run without asking you.

SpyCatcher depends more on the user's judgment about whether a tagged app is a piece of malware or not than other anti-spyware programs do. For example, in its initial run on my system, SpyCatcher easily picked up a file called NTInvisible, which is part of SpyAnywhere from SpytechSoftware. However, SpyCatcher's pop-up said that it didn't know whether it was spyware or not, and asked me to decide whether to allow or exclude it. In comparison, Spybot Search & Destroy offered an immediate identification and description of the possible malware, including a URL for the associated company.

SpyCatcher 2006. Price: $29.95 (one year of updates) Tenebril Inc.


Users can click on suspicious file names for additional info.

Click to Enlarge (in seperate window)

If you don't know what to do concerning the pop-up, SpyCatcher offers a wizard with questions to jog your memory about whether you remember the file and an invitation to go online by clicking a link to Tenebril's online encyclopedia. Unfortunately, as was too often the case, most of the fields on its info list for NTInvisible had only the word "unknown," though it had 250 detections reported by users. There was also a message, "There is no data on this file currently. It does not match any of the files we know to be safe, nor does it match any file names in our spyware database." Tenebril does offer a link for the user to search the Web via Google; the first page brought up info about NTInvisible from sites by Symantec, Computer Associates, EarthLink and others.The same problem occurs after a manual hard-drive scan. SpyCatcher's list of scan results includes file name, category (such as "Suspicious file" or "Spyware") and a suggested action: Allow, Ask Me (in which case the user will be asked about the software each time it runs), Quarantine or Remove. To get more information about the possible malware, you have to click on the file name, which again brings up the online encyclopedia and the same lack of real advice.

Spyware is a hot topic these days, and a new anti-spyware application is not a bad thing. However, Tenebril will have to do a bit more research before its product is truly ready for prime time.

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