(PRWEB) April 26, 2005
Spyware is a generic term used to describe a program that gathers information about you without your knowledge and reports back to a server/organization. The information could be anything that is on your computer but is usually limited to Internet sites you have visited. This gives the collector of your data the information that they need in order to send you popups, spam, and other unwanted and uninvited nuisances. As reported by the National Cyber Security Alliance, more than 90% of home users have some sort of spyware on their computers. Some computer users have spyware to the extent that it makes it a mundane task just to use their computers.
Spyware comes in many different forms. Some spyware will alter your Internet home page and redirect your browser, known as Browser Hijackers. Trojans are programs that disguise themselves as useful programs but which can actually harm your computer. Unlike viruses they do not copy themselves and spread but can deliver spyware and viruses. Key loggers do just that, they remain on your computer to log your keystrokes. This could deliver your credit card number or password to a site the spy controls on the other end. Dialers offer to let you download free games or other programs but uses your dialup connection to connect to an expensive number where they make their money. When several spyware programs get on your computer and set themselves to startup when your computer starts up there are going to be problems. With spyware gumming up the works you will notice a slower startup, programs run slower. Maybe your hard drive space is mysteriously being taken up and an Internet experience that is not much fun.
How do we get spyware? Spyware usually comes bundled with other free software that is either intentionally or unintentionally downloaded. Some of the most prevalent programs are Hotbar, MySearch and Search Assistant, but there are plenty others with new ones coming on the scene at an alarming rate. Some will install programs and set themselves to run when your computer starts up allowing them to wreck havoc on your computer. There are even programs that claim to find, eliminate and prevent spyware that do just the opposite. Here is a link to a site that keeps track of these rouge anti spyware programs - http://www.spywarewarrior.com/rogue_anti-spyware.htm.
Another typical way to get spyware is by using file sharing or peer to peer applications such as Limewire, Kazaa and Bearshare to name a few. While these applications may seem harmless and Âfree,Â by using them you are exposing your computer to whatever the other guy or gal wants to slip onto your computer. If you download and install any of the peer to peer applications such as those I mentioned above, you will notice that they install other applications and may even tell you that they are being installed. You have no choice but to install them or the functionality of the main program will be lost. Most of the accompanying software does the spying and other nasty chores in the background. But the main threat is from exposing your computer to whoever else is on the peer to peer network that the program sets up. This opens up a port or door if you will, on your computer to anybody who wants in.
Prevention. Spyware is not a virus and antivirus programs will not protect you from it. However some of the top antivirus software will detect and eliminate Trojans. DonÂt be sold on programs that throw popups at you telling you that you have spyware, enticing you to purchase their program to get rid of the spyware. These popups are usually enticing you into purchasing a program that does not do a very good job of what it claims to do.
To rid your computer of spyware you need an application that is made specifically for that job. Luckily there are some good, free, programs just for that purpose. Most of these programs will check for files and registry keys as well as running programs to detect and eliminate the spyware. Once the spyware is detected it will show you what it has found and give you the choice to remove it. Some times it is not as easy as that because when some spyware is running it can put up a self defense mechanism that prevents it removal. There are some steps you can take without using spyware removal applications to get rid of some of the more common spyware. If you are familiar with msconfig you can run it and look at your startup tab to see if there are any odd entries in your startup. You can also run the Add Remove Programs application found in the Windows Control Panel. Check for any unfamiliar programs. Some spyware programs such as are tricky to remove. For instance you may be presented with a text box that says ÂAre you sure you want to discontinue removal of this program.Â Obviously this is the opposite of your intent but they count on people clicking the yes button and therefore the program remains installed. Some spyware programs will insist that you must connect to an Internet to continue with the uninstallation. This will take your to their website where they continue their spy mission. Bottom line Â spys are tricky and its removal is best left up to a dedicated spy removal programs such as AdAware - http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware or SpyBot - http://spybot.safer-networking.de/en/index.html. These two are free and usually make small work of detecting and eliminating most common spyware. However even with dedicated software removal can be an arduous task. We have been hunting and killing these villains on over 80 percent of our calls this last year and they get more cunning Â to save yourself hours upon hours of hair pulling you may want to call in an experienced computer repair person - PC Pro Computer Services, (210) 865-2933 - we're here for you.