What is Spyware?

Spyware refers to software that gathers personal information from your computer, sometimes without your knowledge.  The information is often used for advertising purposes. Spyware may cause your computer to slow down or encounter errors.  Spyware has also been known to cause unwanted pop-up advertisements, an inability to connect to the Internet, and problems printing. It can redirect your Internet searches to unwanted sites and replace your main page.

Spyware applications can be bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet.  Once installed, spyware can monitor your activity on the Internet and transmit that information to a third party.  Some forms of spyware can gather information about e-mail addresses, passwords, and even credit card numbers. It can also dial very expensive 900 calls without your knowledge.

A common way to get spyware is through installation of file-swapping programs that are used to download music and movies from the Internet.

What Can I do About Spyware?

Spyware removal software should be used in addition to the anti-virus applications.

It is extremely important to have your Windows Updates up to date, Service Pack 2 is mandatory, configure automatic updates to download and install updates automatically.

I recommend Norton anti-virus, make sure that it is up to date, the subscriptions are only good for 1 year, make sure to renew on time.

I do not recommend Internet Security Suites or System Works!

“Search and Destroy” can be downloaded from: http://www.safer-networking.org/

Ad-aware can be downloaded from: http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/

Improving the security of your computer (Microsoft) – Download the Microsoft anti-spyware software, it is free and does an excellent job.

Quite a few times, spyware can not be removed, even editing the registry does not work sometimes, sometimes the entire drive has to be formatted and the OS and applications reinstalled, after saving data.

If the computer can not be cleaned in 1Hr by a professional, it will never be the same as before, make sure that you know what you are doing before attempting to reinstall Windows, or ask me for assistance: My email is: ed@compros.com

This may be too expensive on older computers with Windows 98, Me or older. Time for a new PC.

Some known Spyware: Stay away from them! If you have any or have downloaded it, your computer is infected.