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Preventing Spyware

Spyware is the leading cause of issues with computer, everything from stability to overall system speed is effected by spyware. You might be wondering what exactly spyware is?

Spyware is software often used by internet marketing companies, to send advertisements to you. This software will usually send you popup ads, redirect you to other websites, and analyze your computing activity to send you ads that you will click on. As you might guess most people would not knowingly install such software, so in order to get this software on computers they often trick the average person into installing software, or bundle it with another application that sounds appealing.

It is these tactics that cause spyware to be such a problem, it is often poorly designed causing all sorts of issues with your computer; at the same time it is hidden very well and difficult to remove without the assistance of special software.

Here are some signs that your computer might be infected by spyware:

  • You will get popup ads while not on the internet, performing word processing, or other non internet using tasks.
  • You will notice that your web browsing is much slower than you remember.
  • Your system will crash unexpectedly and often for no reason at all.
  • You might notice additional toolbars in your web browser that were not there before.
  • Your web browser home page might unexpectedly change or be different.
  • When you click the search button in your web browser you might find a different screen than you are used to seeing.

So how do you get rid of spyware once you think you have it? We recommend using Spybot Search and Destroy along with Lavasoft's AdAware. In most cases these two pieces of software will catch most spyware that might be on your system. In addition to running this software you should run an anti virus software package such as TrendMicro's PC-Cillin. A combination of software will provide you with a much better solution than any single package alone can. However a combination is only good if ONLY ONE is an active scanner, otherwise you will suffer from performance loss.

If your computer hardware is limited and unable to run Trend Micro PC Cillin, we recommend using AVG anti-virus.

This same software can prevent spyware from being loaded on your computer, but these general guidelines should help you as well.

  • When unexpectedly being asked to install software click no (or cancel), or use the X in the upper right corner of the dialog box.
  • Always read the license agreements that come with software, this is usually where companies get by with installing spyware on your computer.
  • Do not install software that claims that it can remove spyware unless you can verify that it is a real spyware remover.

There are times when spyware embeds itself so well that it can only be removed very carefully manually. In these extreme cases a deep understanding of how your operating system works is essential for effectively removing spyware. If you are uncomfortable removing spyware yourself you can always call your local computer repair store, or Defcon-5 to remove the spyware for you.

If you have any questions regarding spyware, or just computer questions in general visit our forums and our community will help you out.

Last Updated: 12/17/2008 04:04 PM

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