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Internet Safety

 

Spyware Removal Tips

Spyware is one of the biggest scourges of personal computing today especially as more and more computers are interconnected via the Internet and local area networks. If your computer is connected to a network or the Internet then you are not safe from this problem.

The statistics speak for themselves:

According to studies, there is over 90% chance that your computer is infected with spyware. Further, another study carried out on user computers found out that 88% of consumer machines had one form of unwanted program or another.

The nuisance caused by malware is not limited to the damage to your computer but also to your time and financial loss. 86% of people in the US who answered a survey, affirmed that spyware caused them to suffer monetary loss.

Apart from the material and financial damage caused by spyware, it is very creepy to know that spying software watches you while you work!

You need to take a proactive approach in dealing with spyware, as such your strategies to fight spyware need to be both curative and preventive.

Curative - remove spyware if your computer is already infected.

Preventive - install programs (like firewalls & antispyware) to guard your computer against intrusion and to prevent installation of new malware.

The following tips should go a long way to help in your fight against spyware:

1. Use anti-spyware to scan your computer.

This is still the top tip in 2009. To be sure your computer is not already compromised by spyware, or to find out the threats present on your machine, you need to run anti-spyware and do a deep scan of your computer. There are online-based services that will scan your computer for you, but that is as good as it gets because they will not rid your computer of spyware for free.

2. Completely shut down your computer when it is not in use.

Do not leave your computer on stand by or powered on. If your computer is connected to the internet and left on power it could be targeted by spyware.

3. Use appropriate defensive software.

You should have at least anti-spyware and a firewall installed on your PC or laptop

The Firewall guards your computer against unwanted network traffic coming from a network or the Internet, while the anti-spyware program will eliminate malicious programs like spyware, trojans, adware and worms from your computer.

4. Keep your computer updated.

New threats come out everyday, in order to win the fight against spyware and other malware you need to install updates for you computer's operating system and for the anti-spyware program you are using. Having an outdated version of software is even more dangerous than having non at all, because it gives you a false sense of security, while you are not being protected.

5. Avoid the temptation to use free anti-spyware programs.

Most of these programs are themselves wolves in sheep clothing i.e. spyware that has been repackaged in the form or free anti-spyware.

6. Be wary of email attachments from sources you are not sure of.

When I receive emails from dubious sources with a an attachment no matter how captivating the title might be, I press the delete button almost immediately. You should do the same.

The best way to protect your computer from spyware is to run an application that identifies spyware and completely removes it.  

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