Recently, at a writers’ conference, one of my colleagues stood up and asked, “What is spyware? What is adware? How can I tell if I have them, and how can I remove them?” Well, have you ever wondered where all the information that you send out into cyber space goes? When you fill out a survey for the smallest of websites for a “free” imported flyswatter, did you ever imagine that simple action might take you and your PC into a spyware spin?
Spyware is any data collection program that secretly gathers information about you and relays it to advertisers or other interested parties. Sometimes, the spyware system is so effective that it will say, “thank you” after you give it your life’s most critical information. What it should really say is, “thank you for giving me all your hard-earned money and peace of mind,” because, by filling out that form and sending it in, you have just installed spyware. Spyware and adware (a software that installs itself to crowd your computer and slow it down to the point of turning it into a large, electronic paperweight) are types of malware that are designed to invade your PC and your privacy–even steal your identity. Adware usually displays banners or unwanted pop-up windows. In many cases, such invasive unwanted programs perform both functions. You can unknowingly install spyware when you install new software, most commonly freeware or shareware P2P (peer-to-peer) file-sharing programs. Many of these programs are designed to track your internet browsing habits, such as frequented sites and favorite downloads, and then provide advertising companies with your marketing data. So how do you remove spyware and adware? Unfortunately, you cannot fully remove most spyware and adware programs by using the uninstall option on your computer; you have to flush it out with antispyware.
Not all antispyware is really what it claims to be, though. It is critical that rogue antispyware software, such as Antivirus XP 2008, Antivirus 2009, Antivirus 2008 XP Antivirus, and XP Security Center, be avoided. All of these rogue programs claim to do the job of removing harmful malware, but they only exacerbate the problem and are in fact spyware themselves. They are insidious, pernicious, and represent the kind of criminal activity that turns the internet into a cyber inferno. With a proven and reputable antispyware program, you can be assured that you are not making the problem worse for yourself, especially if you choose antispyware that guarantees these pests will be removed within 24 hours. One proven and reputable antispyware to try is SpyZooka. It guarantees that 100% of all spyware will be removed from your computer with its application, and has even won the prestigious Tucows 5 Cows software award. So learn some preventive measures when it comes to protecting yourself from spyware, adware and other malware. Remember to keep your system firewalls up and protective software updated, and you’ll be able to keep your computer free of harmful spyware.
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