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Spyware Information & Tips - Online Computer Tips

One of the biggest problems for computers these days seems to be spyware and adware. It seems like everyone has had some form of it and its only getting worse. But what exactly is spyware and adware and how can you get rid of it?

Webopedia.com defines spyware as “Any software that covertly gathers user information through the user's Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet; however, it should be noted that the majority of shareware and freeware applications do not come with spyware. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Spyware can also gather information about e-mail addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers.”

Adware on is similar to spyware except you are informed that it will be placed on your computer. It is usually part of a free software offer where you agree to have it installed as a part of using the software. It usually consists of popup advertisements that you have to look at while using the software.

So how do you know if you have spyware or adware on your system? If your computer suffers from the following symptoms you may be a victim.

  • Extra toolbars on your web browser.
  • Random popup ads that aren’t related to the site you are on. Usually adult related.
  • Your homepage has been changed.
  • Your computer or internet connection is unusually slow.
  • New favorites added to your web browser that you didn’t put there.

There are a few things you can do to avoid getting spyware on your computer.

  • Stay away from questionable sites such as adult sites, hacking sites and sites that promote free commercial software that you would normally have to pay for or music and anything else that sounds illegal.
  • If while online you get any popups telling you that you are infected with a virus or spyware etc and to click here to fix it, close the window.
  • Don’t click yes or OK to any popups or install anything while online unless you are certain you know what it is and that it is safe.
  • Read all license agreements carefully when installing any free software downloaded from the internet.

There are many software programs available today to get rid of spyware but 2 of the most popular and best working programs are Spybot and AdAware and it just so happens that they are free!

Below are the links to download the software to your computer. Then you can install and run the software to get rid of most spyware you may have on your computer. One important thing to remember is that there is always new spyware being developed just like viruses. So you need to make sure to update the software just like you would with your antivirus software.

 

 

Spybot
http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/

**note that the first time you scan with version 1.4 it may complete quickly and tell you no threats were found. If this happens you need to run it again to do a complete scan**

AdAware
http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/

Other Free Spyware Removal Tools

Hijack This
This tool is a little more difficult to use because it will only show you things it found and its up to you to decide if its safe to remove them. Many people save their Hijack This logs and have more experienced people look them over to help them decide what to remove.

CWShredder
This Tool is desinged to look for specific types of spyware. CWShredderT finds and destroys traces of CoolWebSearch. CoolWebSearch is a name given to a wide range of different browser hijackers.

 

Other Methods

There are other ways to get rid of spyware that may be necessary to try if the anti spyware software can’t do the job.

You can go to your Add/Remove Programs utility in Control Panel to see if there is anything installed that doesn’t look like it should be there. Examples of installed spyware may be toolbars or shopping related items.

You can also look at your startup items for unusual looking items that don’t belong. See the using MSCONFIG page for more details.

Another utility similar to msconfig that offers more advanced features is called Autoruns by Sysinternals. Autoruns allows you to get more in depth when searching for items that should be disabled because they are causing problems.

It may be necessary to edit the registry to completely get rid of some spyware items. The registry is the Windows database that stores configuration information about software, hardware and user settings. It shouldn’t be touched unless you are an advanced user. Don’t forget to make a backup of the registry first just in case something goes wrong.

Sometimes your computer may become so infested with spyware that the only solution is to wipe out the whole system and start over again. This may be your only solution especially if you allow too much spyware to take over your computer. Plus certain types of spyware are harder to get rid of than others. Just make sure to back up your important documents before doing so!

Spyware Doctor
Spyware Doctor has the most advanced update feature that continually improves its Spyware fighting capabilities on daily basis. As Spyware gets more complex to avoid detection by AntiSpyware programs Spyware Doctor responds with new technology to stay one step ahead.

 

Spyware Tutorials:
Removing and Preventing Spyware Infections

Using Ad-Aware

 

Other Spyware Tips:

For More Information About Spyware Out Our Spyware Answers Section.

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