Watching the Watchers : Detection and Removal of Spyware

If spyware were a person and he set himself up in your
house, you are likely going to do one of two things. You’ll
kick him out yourself or you’ll call someone (such as the
police) to do it for you.

Employing tools that detect and remove spyware from your
PC, whether it’s at home or at the office, should be on the
list of top things to do for your complete protection, and
the protection of your children.

Spyware is a generic term for insidious programs designed
to track, store and report back on your actions on the
computer, whether you’re logged onto the Internet or not.
The most benign forms began as adware, software that tried
to make sure the end user didn’t receive any ads they
wouldn’t be interested in. The theory is great, but the
practice has been warped by abuse.

There are a number of tools available for the detecting and
removing of Spyware. Ad-Aware is a very reputable piece of
software that detects, isolates and removes spyware from
your PC. Available for free download, Ad-Aware was one of
the first anti-spyware programs to be available.

Ad-Aware’s drawback, however, is that it must be run to
detect already installed spyware and it does not prevent
spyware from being downloaded as you surf the Internet.

Ad-Aware offers a paid version labeled Ad-Watch that
includes a real time prevention tool. Spysweeper, Spybot,
A-Squared, Microsoft Anti-Spyware and many, many others all
offer varying levels of protection from spyware.
Ultimately, preventing the installation of such programs in
the first place will serve you better.

Yes, it may cost a small investment or donation for
licensing the product. However, remember that spyware can
tie up your CPU, RAM and Internet connection to the point
that you can no longer perform day-to-day functions on your
machine or connection with any type of speed or normalcy.

Free programs work well for detecting and removing spyware,
but it’s advisable to check out the website offering the
anti-spyware for free. Some programs are just more spyware
in disguise. Choose reputable software rather than just any
ad that pops up in your email box.

Making sure you have anti-virus software, working firewall
and up to date patches for all of your software will
improve the performance across the board.

Even if you install and utilize very reputable anti-spyware
software, the best advice to preventing spyware
installation on your machine is avoiding the downloading of
unknown products or attachments from your e-mail.

Don’t download programs from people you do not know, nor
should you enter every contest and game that may be offered
through pop-up banners or e-mail. It’s not enough to be
able to detect and/or remove spyware. You have to prevent
it. And, this starts with some simple action that any
computer novice can perform.
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About the author:

Tom Jenson has worked in software development for 20 years.
He’s seen spyware develop from an occasional problem, to a
daily, hourly threat to all pc’s. He made it a mission to
research these threats, and work out how best to combat
them. Now this series of article helps others protect
their computers too.

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