Spybot-S&D (Spybot Search & Destroy) by Patrick Kolla via Safer Networking, is essential antispyware software to have if you have a Windows computer, in my book. It's free for personal use, though donations are welcome, and I've certainly donated.
Version 1.5 was released on 3 September 2007, and Windows users would do well to upgrade to or download Spybot 1.5 ASAP (see changes from v 1.4). I check for updates and run anti-spyware, anti-adware and anti-virus programs at least once every week, and Spybot should be in every Windows user's arsenal. The only time I caught spyware infections (from web browsing, I think) it was because I skipped my usual checks one week, but Spybot spotted and eradicated them quickly.
IE helper - SDhelperThe only slight bugbear I had with Spybot was the resident "IE helper", an Internet Explorer plugin known as "SDhelper" and captioned "Bad URL Blocker". On Internet Explorer 7, after I updated Spybot a window started constantly popping up (sometimes more than once) with a DoubleClick ad warning window everytime I went to a new page on sites like the Streetmap and Amazon's US and UK sites.
No amount of selecting "Always react this way" then clicking "Deny" seemed to stop it, although the nth time I tried that on Amazon UK with "Ignore parameters" unticked it stopped popping up on later pages. It since popped up again on Amazon, though.
I couldn't find any documentation or help on SD helper except mention in the Spybot Help that it helps block bad stuff in IE ("Currently, it consists of a browser helper for Internet Explorer that will block download of files known as malicious (spyware installers for example)") as a second layer of protection after IE. I don't know what "Ignore parameters" is all about, for instance. The Help says you can view a report of blocked pages or files, but I couldn't see any info in the report of what nasty thing it is DoubleClick was trying to do on Amazon and Streetmap, which SDhelper blocked - in fact the only reports in the Resident view were of things TeaTimer did rather than things SDHelper did.
As of the date of writing I have found zero hits on Google for spybot "ignore paremeters" and "ie helper" "ignore parameters". Of course, in a day or two you might well get one hit on Google namely this post, but that won't be of much help...!
I couldn't find any settings within Spybot if you want to change or refine the settings for a particular "Bad URL", either. But I was missing something, certainly it's keeping track at the bottom of the pop-up window of how many URLs it's detected altogether. At first all it seemed you could do is turn SDhelper on or off (it's in Tools in the Resident section. If you can't see it initially click on Tools, then the Tools heading in the left sidebar again, then check the "Resident" box, then click Resident in the left sidebar, and you'll see the checkbox to enable or disable SDHelper).
UPDATE: But I've since figured it out. You configure bad URL blocking in Internet Explorer, not in Spybot - via the IE Tools menu, there's a Spybot - Search Destroy Configuration option:
Change the Settings to "Block all bad pages silently" and voila, it'll still block "bad" URLs but no more constant popups. I think on upgrading to version 1.5 it must have set the configuration to "Ask" by default when it used to be silent. Sorted!