SPYWARE: What Is It, How Do I Avoid It?
Spyware programs install
themselves onto your computer and display unwanted ads, change browser default
home page, add programs to the system tray and, in some cases, collect personal
information. Recent surveys submitted to the FTC showed that 75 percent of computer
users were not aware that this software had been installed on their machine and
63 percent of users said that they had not consented to its installation. Take a few minutes to
read this article. It will give you some
tips on how to defend yourself against these programs.
You may be unaware that
these programs are in your computer. Spyware programs usually serve endless
pop-up ads that do not appear to come from your favorite Web site. Some of the
pop-up ads may appear when you are not even surfing the Internet. Other spyware
programs will change your browser's default home page and serve up pop-up
windows that are impossible to close. One of the most common symptoms is your
computer will appear sluggish. If you've noticed a sharp decrease in its
performance or that it has become unstable, it may be spyware. The more harmful
spyware programs will cause your computer to dial 1-900 numbers that will show
up on your phone bill. The worst ones seek to collect your personal information.
Spyware can be a challenge
to find and remove from your computer. There are many software tools that help
you do this. First, check with your Internet service provider to see what tools
they offer to deal with spyware. The major ISPs offer their customers spyware
tools. You can also download software tools that will do the job.
If you have been fortunate
enough to avoid spyware, or if you've just rid yourself of it, take steps to
keep your computer free of spyware. Here are some basic tips to preventing
Be skeptical about
installing strange or free software, particularly file-sharing software.
Make sure you know what exactly is being installed onto your computer when
you download applications off the Internet.
Pay attention to
"Security Warning" screens. "Security Warning" screens alert users to new
software being installed from Web pages they visit.
Read the End User
Licensing Agreement. Almost all legitimate software installations will
include an End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) that includes a lot of
information about the software. If it is hard to find or difficult to read,
think twice about installing the software.
Practice basic computer
security hygiene by installing anti-virus software, firewalls and keeping
your software up-to-date with security patches.
For more information,
tips and resources visit
I hope you will use this
information to keep your computer running smoothly. If you are already
experiencing symptoms, you should have your computer system checked. We can clean
your computer of all spyware and show you how to prevent future attacks. Call