It is a common question plaguing many computer users and is the most common question we at Fast-teks are asked. The answer is pretty simple to this concern problem.
Spyware is software that gathers personal information from computer users without their knowledge. It basically sends information from your computer to a third party. Other terms associated with Spyware are adware, malware, keyloggers, phishing attacks and snoopware. All terms have a slightly different meaning but all of them fall in the annoying category of Spyware. They all want to know your Internet surfing habits so they can target you with pop-up advertisements that cater to your hobbies and preferences.
How do you know when and if your computer is infected?
Any computer that is connected or has been connected to the Internet (High Speed and Dial-up alike) could potentially be targeted with Spyware. Some symptoms that diagnose an infected computer include:
o Strange Browser Behavior: Your Internet browser might be hijacked. Your default page has changed without your knowledge. Your Tool-Bar might be completely different.
o Poor Performance: Your computer might be very slow, freezing up or crashing.
o Pop-ups: You are getting 'bombarded' with pop-ups and unwanted advertising, even when you are not connected to the Internet.
o Invasion of Secure Websites: Denied access to secure websites (https-sites) can be caused by Spyware.
What can I do to protect myself?
o Avoid opening suspicious pop-up advertisements and e-mails. Those messages could have spam intended to install Spyware on your computer.
o Keep your computer clean by installing pop-up blockers.
o Clean your "cookies" and defrag your computer periodically
o Keep your Operating System healthy and up to date by downloading the latest security patches.
o If you are using Microsoft Windows, enable automatic updates to receive the latest patches necessary to keep your system healthy. Please understand that Microsoft will NEVER send you an e-mail with this type of information.
o Keep computer updated with the latest anti-virus software available. Your preferred anti-virus software may have pop-up blocker and Spyware removal tools built in. However, do not rely on your anti-virus software to do the complete job for you.
o Scan your system with the latest anti-Spyware scanner. When properly configured, it will find and remove any Spyware it finds. Make sure to reboot and repeat the scan before connecting to the internet again.
Getting stubborn Spyware removed from your computer could be time consuming, especially if you are not too familiar with your system. It will also require some good software to do the job for you. Some top Spyware scanners that have received good reviews include:
1) Webroot Spysweeper
2) Sunbelt Counterspy
3) Spybot Search and Destroy
Source by Cari Diaz