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Preventing and Controling Spyware and Adware

Aug 17, 2007
Spyware and Adware seem to be taking over computers everywhere these days, but there are some good practices that you can follow to help maintain a healthy ad/spyware free computer. First though I will define both of these computer annoyances for you.

Adware is software that displays advertisments on your computer. These ads tend to popup on your screen at any time. They usually come bundled with free software as means to make money.

Spyware is software that monitors your surfing habits or even your usernames and passwords and then sends this info to a third party without your permission or even knowledge.

Be Careful What You Download
Even some of the more popular software can come bundled with spyware or adware that you don't know about. Your best defense is to research the software before you download it. Do a search in google for the name of the software plus the word 'spyware' or 'adware'. If you don't get any significant hits then it is probably safe. It also helps to read the license agreement associated with the application carefully. Any bundled components should be mentioned in there somewhere. Also when installing the program it helps to choose the 'custom' option if available. This gives you a better view of the installation process and more control over what components actually get installed on your computer.

Install a Popup Blocker
Alot of spyware is automatically installed when you click on a popup window on your screen. These pop-up windows can appear simply by surfing to a particular website and can often be quite tempting to click on. Installing a blocker prevents these annoying distractions. I use the 'google toolbar' myself, it has a built in pop-up blocker along with some other useful tools and it is completely safe. Just do a search for 'google toolbar' to download it.

Damage Control
No matter what you do eventually some ad/spyware will get installed on your computer, but not to worry. There are some good free programs available that are built to remove any unwanted applications. My two personal favorites are 'Spybot' and 'Adaware' and you can find them by searching for them in any search engine. What these programs do is scan your hard drive searching for known spy/adware apps and then give you the option of removing them. Make sure you check for updates frequently because new threats are popping up daily. Running these programs weekly should be sufficient.
About the Author
C Henry is a computer support writer for Computer Tech Support , a troubleshooter and field guide for experienced and beginner computer techs.
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