Many people don’t know that they need a spyware detector on their computer, much less that they need a good one. Most of the time, people think they’re fully safe with nothing more than an antivirus program. It usually doesn’t take new users too long to figure out their need for an antispyware program. Unfortunately for many people, they learn this the hard way.
Viruses aren’t nearly as common a threat to a computer’s security and stability as spyware is. Many people think they have a virus infection, when they actually have a spyware problem. The main difference between the two is that spyware is manifested in pop-up ads and browser hijacking.
Adware often does the same things as spyware, but there is a subtle difference there. Adware will only show advertisements and lock up your computer. Spyware does the same thing, but it also collects information from your computer and sends it to a remote server.
Now that a basic idea of what spyware does is in place, how do you fix it? Manual removal instructions are all over the place on the internet, but these often don’t work. The only sure way to remove spyware and adware is to have a good antispyware program.
What makes a good antispyware suite? First of all, antispyware programs scan a computer or network to identify and remove spyware. In this task, there are three criteria that antispyware software is graded on. The first is how quickly they complete a scan. This can range from under 15 minutes to over an hour.
The second quality is whether it can identify the spyware on a computer. All spyware programs have libraries of spyware definitions that have to be constantly updated. How frequently these programs update is an important factor. Library updates can range from within minutes of a spyware program’s release to every week or so. Most antispyware programs fall in the latter category.
Finally, the last factor is whether or not a spyware removal tool can remove the spyware. A program may recognize that spyware is present, but may not be able to remove it, or it can only remove it if the computer is running in Safe Mode. Ideally, if a program recognizes spyware, it should be able to “fix” it, but it’s not always the case.
A feature that many antispyware programs consider to be “optional” is spyware protection. This service is geared to prevent spyware from infecting a computer to begin with. The better antispyware software will include this feature, and the best will update it as frequently as the fixes.
Finally, a good criterion to judge an antispyware suite on is the price. Some programs are free, but ultimately you get what you pay for in this case. Other programs vary somewhat in price. A good program should have the best of all features, but not cost an arm and a leg. A 100% removal guarantee also helps greatly.
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