Tips for Dealing with the Spyware Threat

The holiday season is here and as usual, PCs and laptops are high on wish lists.

While more and more PCs come with a built-in anti-virus protection system, many ignore a potentially more destructive threat – the threat of spyware.

Thankfully many companies have come to the rescue with a multitude of programs available to fight this threat and with over 78,000 spyware/adware programs floating around the internet, this protection is in high demand.

Any consumer can go online and find numerous free anti-spyware applications as well as ones that come with a minimal fee.

Then there are many anti-spyware/anti-adware programs that cost the user a small fee up front.

Many experts agree that the best course is a combination of a free resource and a quality paid anti-spyware application like that found at because users can be assured of quality service and help should any questions arise as well as continuous updates to fight the newest infections.

“Spyware is the biggest threat to security and privacy on the internet,” says computer expert Mitch Wagner. “Spyware is software installed without your informed consent.”

It is delivered through Trojan horses, viruses, and malicious websites.

Just as virus scanners can examine your machine to see if it contains virus-laden programs, other software scans machines for known spyware.

Some good anti-spyware programs Technical Writer Ross Greenberg uses include:

PepiMK Software’s Spybot Search & Destroy
Lavasoft’s Ad-aware
InterMute’s SpySubtract
JavaCool’s Spyware Blaster

Others can be found at SpyChecker which lists products that are either entirely free or fully functional.

Greenberg offers these hints for keeping spyware off your machine:

Keep your system including all anti-viral and anti-spyware packages up to date.

You can have Windows handle operating system updates automatically.

If using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, turn off its ability to run scripts without your permission.

There’s a downside to this, alas, says Greenberg, with scripting disabled, some of your favorite Web sites may no longer be usable.

Greenberg says you’ll want to control what gets started when Widows starts up as both some viruses and spyware themselves get into the registry or otherwise run as startup.

Although you can practice safe computing using every precaution and proactive action imaginable to prevent problems on your machine, Greenberg says chances are you will make a mistake and a piece of spyware will make it on.

Greenberg says another way to protect yourself is to prevent spyware from doing its jobs of transmitting data off the system.

That’s where a decent firewall comes in, he says.

When network managers are called to disinfect a user’s machine of spyware they reach for and install a few of the listed anti-spyware programs.

For more information about how to protect your computer from destructive adware and spyware, visit or

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