• Spyware, a type of malicious software, threatens one's privacy and personal data through software covertly installed on your computer. Detecting spyware can be tricky since it is designed to be hidden on your computer, but it is inevitable that you will eventually pick up spyware if you use your computer even infrequently. There are several ways to identify spyware and detection programs you can use to eradicate and block it.

    Signs of Spyware's Existence

    While there are often no overt signs that spyware has installed itself on your computer, your computer might be infected if you notice an increase in the appearance of advertisements and pop-up windows. Spyware can also change your Web brower's home page or default search engine, or it might install new toolbars on your browser. The most obvious indication of spyware is a decrease in the speed and performance of your computer when you are not running any abnormally large or cumbersome files or an increase in Internet usage activity when there are no Internet-enabled programs running.

    Spyware Software

    The best way to detect the presence of spyware is by running software used to detect, block and remove spyware. One popular program is Spybot Search and Destroy, a free program that includes real-time protection to prevent and detect spyware. Users of Windows Vista have Windows Defender installed automatically with Vista to detect changes to PC settings that may be caused by spyware. "PCWorld" recommends SuperAntiSpyware, a free anti-spyware software that scans not just your files and memory but also your Registry (though not in real time). Consider installing two or three different types of anti-spyware programs to provide the most comprehensive coverage.

    Extra Protection

    Since no one anti-spyware utility can detect and block all spyware, "PCWorld" suggests you install a free program called HiJackFree. This works with your main anti-spyware software to detect and remove all types of hijackers, spyware, adware, Trojans and worms.




    Mark Wilson "Fend Off Spyware," Computeractive Magazine, June 11, 2009

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