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Stop Spyware Before It Has A Chance To Get You
Can you remember a time that you were happily relaxed, surfing the Internet, when you click on an interesting ad only to get flooded with pop-ups and your browser suddenly decides to visit sites that might make you blush? Or have you possibly ever downloaded something free and installed it only to notice your computer turn sluggish, since there is now a background program running that is tracing your movement online?
Adware and Spyware
Spyware is something that typically gets into your computer without you knowing or having allowed it. It runs in the shadows, gathering personal information or watching what you do with your computer. Many forms of spyware collect information about both your computer and what you do with it. For instance, it might track your patterns of Internet surfing. Unfortunately, truly advanced spyware is known to actually collect sensitive personal data and then communicated it to those who use it for identity theft, be it passwords to websites, account usernames, your credit card numbers, or even instant messages.
Adware is a little different from spyware. The purpose of adware is to put advertising content on display on your computer. This is often done through pop-ups, where you see website links and flash advertisements. These ads often highlight products that are legitimate. Many forms of adware analyze your Internet activity so that advertising content can be focused on your personality and interests. Many consumers do not really mind this, but a great many others think this tactic is an invasion of their privacy.
Removing Adware and Spyware
Whether spyware is proving to be a performance drag or an actual security risk, you will quickly discover that certain forms of spyware are beyond bothersome. For instance, adware and spyware, hustling in your computer's background, can wind up dominating the hardware resources of your system, in some cases taking the whole thing down. Slow computers are an irritation to anyone, but home office users find it particularly frustrating.
In the meantime, many uninvited pieces of software get on your machine while you traverse the Web. In some cases, you are triggered to download something as you click on a fraudulent dialog box or pop-up. You might see messages that are enticing or seem urgent somehow. You might get tempted with a free gift, or get told you need a particular piece of software for the website to even load. You might get presented with a choice between Yes or No. Many times the software will be loaded anywhere you click on the window, so just close it entirely from the border instead.
Avoiding Adware and Spyware
Many forms of uninvited spyware wind up on your system because of things you might have done, or things you did not actually do. Here's a few pointers on avoiding unwanted adware and spyware:
Be picky about the things you download to your system. Be sure you actually have a need for a program prior to downloading any of it. If you are looking at a software maker you have never heard of, read the website thoroughly to discover the individuals behind the program as well as the program itself. Keep an eye out for ActiveX, which is a favorite tool of those who create and spread spyware and adware, as they use it to install things without you knowing or giving permission. Most browsers have preferences that enable you do disable ActiveX; it can be re-enabled for trusted websites that just have to have it.
Read every detail of licensing agreements. They might seem daunting with their length and tiny print, but it's never safe to just scroll through them really fast just to hit the Accept button at the bottom, particularly when it comes to freeware. The better thing to do is to read each and ever agreement line by line, looking especially hard for any content or words that relate to information-gathering techniques. These are usually the doors that open the way for adware and spyware that comes attached to your freebie.
Keep an eye out for any antispyware scams. The Internet is full of tools that say that are antispwyare but actually do little or even nothing about it. A few of them even actually hurt you. Those who advertise such tools often offer a free system scan that always identifies dozens to hundreds of issues your system, but you can't get them fixed without buying their fake product.
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