A Guide to Spy-Ware Prevention

Internet spy-ware has been around for years. It’s hidden in many programs. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the obvious type of programs that spy-ware is hidden in and just what it does, as well as applications to effectively REMOVE spy-ware.

Just What IS SPY-WARE?

Spy-ware is an agent placed in various computer programs and applications that track your internet activity such as what sites you visit. It helps companies determine the tastes and or preferences of the people who are using their program. Initially it was intended for just that but it has evolved into a potential damaging issue as well as security and privacy concerns.

I Don’t Care If They Know What Sites I Visit. What Harm Can That Do?

You would be very surprised to know just HOW MUCH harm spy-ware can do. These days, spy-ware can collect personal information such as your name, email address, or even your Social Security Number. Most spy-ware these days also will “tweak” or adjust your operating system (Windows xp, Windows 98, etc). Get a few of them (VERY easy to do) and they work against each other. Next thing you know, your computer is running much slower than usual and/or may be malfunctioning. It can be anywhere from a minor inconvenience with your computer to rendering your computer virtually useless. You’ll never hear a computer service or repair person complaining about spy-ware. Spy-ware is likely putting their children through college with all the computers that they repair that spy-ware is directly responsible for.

How Does One GET Spy-Ware On Their PC?

Spy-ware can accompany many different programs and applications. Two things to look into when downloading a new piece of software. First: READ THE FINEPRINT. Most companies will tell you in the fine print weather or not they share or collect information and share it with any other companies. If they say that they do that, that means that it is loaded with spy-ware. Perhaps several different agents of spy-ware. Second: If it’s FREE and it’s HANDY, or cute, it’s more than likely to contain spy-ware. Things like cool screen savers (can also contain viruses) or desktop themes. Handy tool bars full of handy shortcuts. Some free pop-up blockers. Handy agents that tell you the temperature in your area and display it constantly in the bottom right corner of your computer screen. Not ALL of these things are loaded with spy-ware. Some of them are very useful and you may find them of value to you but make sure you read the fine print before installing them.

My Computer May Be Loaded With Spy-Ware. What’s The Cheapest Way To Rid My Computer Of It?

Spy-ware is getting a lot of attention from various internet service providers and many include spy-ware removal and scanning programs in their installation CD. There are also several programs on the market by companies like Norton and McAfee that will detect and remove spy-ware. If you look around, you can easily find a few FREE removal programs that work no better or no worse than any one that you’ll pay for. Spy-Bot Search And Destroy is one of them that is free and my personal preference. It’s user friendly and highly effective. Ad-Ware is another highly effective one that is free to try and evaluate. In my experiences (and I’ve used both Ad-Ware and Spy-Bot) each one is about as effective as the other removing MOST of the spy-ware. It is essential that you update any of these programs on a regular basis. It doesn’t hurt to do spy-ware scans at least once a week. NONE of these programs are full proof or perfect but they do work well and can make a considerable difference in how a spy-ware ridden computer performs.

Spy-ware can definitely cause a considerable amount of havoc. However, with a bit of education and smart downloading, you can counter attack the problem(s) and keep spy-ware out of your computer completely.

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