A Beginners Guide to Spyware

By: Isaiah G. Henry

Most common individuals like me have no idea of the dangers that spyware brings? Well, allow me to warn you. They are on nearly all computers that use the Internet, especially if you enjoy the free resources of the Internet.

Spyware does not concern itself with etiquette of asking for your permission. It simply just invades with much evil intent with no respect for your privacy, and the Internet is its pathway to your computer.

A favorite trick is to install spyware when you are installing another program. Generally spyware comes from free programs offered on the Internet. These free programs are called freeware, or shareware. Technically, the spyware company has your permission, although the legal issues are not clear.

After you download your much anticipated free program, you click the installation icon. Then there is a license agreement that stands in the way of your enjoyment. So of course, just like me, you quickly select the I Agree button. And this is what makes these spyware programs legal.

White-hat spyware simply annoys you with constant pop up advertisements. But I am sure this is not just white-hat annoyance to you, but more like something you have come to hate. This is how the producers of spyware programs earn a high standard of living. Some of these white-hat spyware programs just collect your browsing behavior for companies to perform scientific online advertising analysis. Yet I agree with you on this one too, that your browsing behavior is your own business.

Then there are the true spyware villains that gather email addresses and passwords off your PC and either use them or sell your personal information to the highest bidder of the underground Internet world.

Help; Tell Me If I Have Spyware.

Here are some signs of spyware:

1)Constant random pop ups

2)Icons and toolbars just magically appear

3)Web browsing seems slower and your PC appears to have inherited a turtle gene

4)Your browser constantly goes aloft with advertising with sites.

5)Settings have changed on your PC even when your kids are not home

6)Advertisement windows are everywhere

If any of these symptoms are visible, do something!

Ok what can I do?

1)Get a reputable firewall program for your PC. If you have a Windows computer that was built within the last five years, then there is already a firewall built-in. Just make sure it is not disabled. Also virus protection software have firewalls integrated into the application.

2)Never click on popup advertisements. If you click, they will know that you are a real person, and you will just get more.

3)Stay away from free downloads. There is no such thing as free! Make sure to do some research first to determine the legitimacy of the software.

4)Keep your Windows and Browser up to date. Microsoft offers free security updates. Make sure that you update regularly.

5)Use anti-spyware software. Most virus checking programs also check for spyware. Numerous other programs are available.

Watch out for antispyware scams. These programs perpetrate themselves as legitimate software, but they are simply spyware programs. Needless to say, research to proactively guard yourself from scams such as this.

Allow the antispyware program to run on a scheduled basis, like every night when you are not usually on the computer.

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