Spyware and other types of malware are more than just a pain in the neck - they can cause other programs to malfunction and even make your computer unstable. And of course there's all the privacy issues that go along with it.
By Paul Wilcox
Spyware and other types of malware are more than just a pain in the neck - they can cause other programs to malfunction and even make your computer unstable. And of course there’s all the privacy issues that go along with it.
These pieces of software are generally installed on your computer without your knowledge or consent. They often can’t be removed without some kind of specialized software. If you need to be tricked into installing it, chances are you can’t trust the source.
The first line of defense against spyware is to be careful installing software. Know what’s being downloaded. A large percentage of freeware or shareware programs have spyware embedded in them. Sometimes that’s disclosed in the user agreement, but often not.
Check for “spyware free” guarantees on software you download. Obviously, anyone can say something is spyware free even when it isn’t, but if a website has gone to the trouble to say so, it is more likely to be safe than if they hadn’t.
How can you tell if you have spyware on your system? You may see pop-up advertisements even when you aren’t browsing the web. Your homepage may have been changed without your consent. New toolbars are installed on your web browser which you didn’t request. Your computer may be sluggish or mysteriously reboot on its own. Though, the last effect is usually a virus.
If you do get infected with spyware, there are ways to get rid of it. A number of companies make software designed to get rid of it. These programs will scan your computer and check through their database of known spyware for any matches. These databases get updated frequently as new forms of spyware are found.
Some of these programs are free while others will cost. The paid versions sometimes have additional features, such as automatic scheduled scans. None of them are 100% foolproof however, so it’s a good idea to run more than one of them.
Some kinds of spyware are notoriously difficult to get rid of. They may make changes to your Windows files that help them hide from the scanners. On occasion, you may need to delete them manually to be sure they’re gone.
This is obviously not something you should undertake unless you’re quite familiar with Windows and working with system files. You wouldn’t want to delete something that renders Windows inoperable.
Once your system is spyware free - help keep it that way. Some of the spyware removal tools include utilities that can protect your computer from being exposed to spyware. Much like virus scanners, they monitor changes to your system files and alert you of any suspicious activity.
And of course, always be aware of the risks before you accept any free offers for software on the internet. You never know what the real cost is for that free program.
How can you protect yourself from spyware, viruses, identity theft and other internet security attacks? You don't need to be a technical genius to be safe. Learn the insider secrets that will keep your computer safe at onlinesecuritytoolkit.com