It’s conceivable that someone is monitoring you while you read this. A hostile hacker might be monitoring your every keystroke in order to acquire access to your personal information. It is possible that the advertising business is watching your behavior in order to provide customized adverts to you. Or it may be a corporation that is determined to direct you to particular Web sites whether you wish to visit them or not.
The tool that these individuals and organizations use to influence your browsing experience is known as spyware. Spyware is an application that runs in the background and manipulates or records your Web surfing activity. Adware is spyware that monitors you in order to show you advertisements.
These programs lie on a continuum that ranges from somewhat annoying to completely disruptive. In the best-case scenario, spyware will bother you while you try to navigate through pop-up adverts, ignore false search results, or cope with a sluggish and unresponsive Web browser. In the worst-case scenario, spyware will track your activity and communicate that information to someone else, who may exploit it to steal your identity.
You can easily become infected with malware. Pop-up advertising may include spyware, and clicking on one may cause your browser to download an undesirable application. That’s why, rather than clicking the Cancel button, it’s a good idea to click the X button on a pop-up ad. Spyware can potentially ride on the back of a genuine program. You’ve probably seen examples of this in the shape of toolbars. If you wish to avoid spyware, you must pay close attention to downloads and installs.
Scanning and removing spyware
Assume you are aware that something is amiss with your web browser. Perhaps you’ve been routed to a weird search engine when you actually wanted to go to Google. Or maybe you’re constantly bombarded with pop-up advertising no matter what website you visit. What are you going to do?
The first step is to obtain and set up anti-spyware software. There are various programs available that will check your computer for spyware. Some of them are completely free. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most popular anti-spyware programs:
- Ad-Aware (http://www.lavasoft.com)
- Microsoft Windows Defender (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/defender/default.mspx)
- PC Tools Spyware Doctor (http://www.pctools.com/spyware-doctor/)
- Spy Sweeper (http://www.webroot.com/En_US/consumer-products-spysweeper.html)
- STOPzilla (http://www.stopzilla.com/products/stopzilla/home.do)
- Sunbelt Software CounterSpy (http://www.sunbeltsoftware.com/Home-Home-Office/Anti-Spyware/)
Resist the urge to download and install many applications; anti-spyware software might use your computer’s processing power while scanning your system. Running numerous anti-spyware apps at the same time may cause your computer to stutter to a halt. Anti-spyware apps might sometimes clash with one another, causing your computer to crash. Check to verify if your anti-virus software includes anti-spyware protection. If it happens, just launch the anti-virus software.
Your computer will be scanned for spyware apps by the anti-spyware software. Most anti-spyware programs will immediately quarantine anything they identify as spyware. Following that, the majority of the programs will allow you to evaluate the spyware software discovered on your laptop before deleting them. When you identify malware, it’s typically a good idea to remove it.
The only other thing to remember is that you should constantly maintain your software up to date. You should enable automatic updates for your anti-spyware software if it is available. Otherwise, be sure to check in with the seller on a frequent basis because new malware is released every day on the Internet.
Once your computer is clean, you can maintain it spyware-free by using caution when visiting the web. When installing programs, keep an eye out for piggybacking. Avoid clicking on pop-up advertising. Also, don’t click on any windows that suggest your computer requires a spyware check; doing so may result in the installation of malware on your machine.