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Thursday, 24 March 2011

Finding and Removing Spyware from your PC.

What is it? "Spy-Ware" is a malicious little program that comes from various sources, most often hidden in an innocent-seeming download or self-loaded onto your system from a pop-up. So, if you have downloaded music files or games from some unknown source or had a pop-up that wouldn't close right away your PC may be infected with Spyware.

But don't worry. It's not fatal, but it is a major annoyance and an invasion of your privacy, as you will see by the following symptoms:

You get pop-up ads when your browser is not running or when your PC is not online... sometimes you may even see a pop-up that addresses you by name.

When you sign on, your browser start page has changed to something you've never seen before. You change it back, but before long it changes again.

You start a web search with the browser, and a website you've never used before handles the search.

New websites show up in your favorites - but you didn't put them there. Sometimes they even re-appear after you delete them.

A new, strange toolbar appears on your browser even though you didn't install it. Removal attempts fail, or it reappears after you restart your PC.

Your PC suddenly starts running really slowly... usually because some unknown program is using almost all of your system resources.

The modem icon in your system tray flashes like mad even when you're not using the web. Or if you are online, it flashes as if you were making a download when you aren't.

But the worst one of all - everything seems normal. The worst spy that hides in your PC won't leave any obvious warning signs... it just watches everything you do, then runs and tells it's master all about you.

But what can you do about it? The most common ways a PC can become infected is through Pop-ups and downloaded programs.

So, here's what you do:

1) Get a good pop-up killer. I'd recommend either the Alexa Toolbar or the Google toolbar, they're both free and both have good pop-up stoppers.
Alexa Toolbar
Google toolbar

2) Scan for Spyware regularly, and remove it with a tool designed to remove them without messing up anything else.

At least once a week use SpyBot - Search & Destroy
It's a Free download, it's free to use, and you get free updates. This is very likely the best spyware removal tool you will find anywhere. It's free, but the developer asks for donations... normally I would not recommend or ask that any of our visitors make donations for something like this, but they have done a lot of work and the program is so necessary - so please consider a donation.

That's about all it takes. Once you get used to doing it, it's no more of a pain than sweeping the kitchen... something that you gotta do, but you don't really have to pay all that much attention to it.


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