Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


Did I pick up spyware by visiting a Web site?

Dave, I was looking at information on the Mirc website and I happened to come across a link called Since the link came from an official website, I clicked on the link only to be redirected to a site called Ever since hearing about phishing and malicious websites (e.g. Googkle) I was concerned as to whether or not the site I was redirected to was insidious in any kind of way (whether or not I had spyware, adware, trojans, etc.). I scanned my computer using various virus and adware scanners (everything was clean). Still feeling uneasy, I need advice, therefore I'm asking you.

I can understand your concern, but fortunately there are some tools available that make tracking down this sequence pretty straightforward. I'm going to use a Unix command-line based tool called lynx to step through the sequence of what was sent from the site. I'm actually doing this on the Mac OS X command line by using the Terminal application that's included with the operating system (it's in Applications --> Utilities).

The first step is to recognize that when you visit a Web page you get two things sent back to you, a HEAD and an actually web page. The header is the http protocol handshake, and you can view it with lynx by using the following command...