Spyware Removal - Protecting Your Privacy

By Susan Reynolds

Without you even knowing it, your computer might be infected with spyware at this very moment. A recent study done by a large online research company concluded that 89% of computers on the Internet are infected by this malicious type of software. Spyware removal is therefore not something you can leave for another day.

Most of the time spyware is installed on a person's computer without his knowledge or consent. Many of them are relatively harmless and are therefore called 'adware' rather than 'spyware'. Their sole purpose is to collect information about your surfing habits and then display advertisements to you - either by changing your browser's home page, or by using pop-ups.

You might also notice all sorts of popups appearing inexplicably on your screen from time to time. These are mostly caused by spyware or adware. Many of them will display an alternative page when you try to buy something online.

You're a prime target to get infected with one of these if you regularly bring a visit to porn sites, sites where you can play online games, peer to peer download sites and 'crack' sites. Free downloads that are the most likely to be affected by spyware are screen savers, 'smileys' and wallpapers.

Something that you might now know, is that many times spyware will be installed on your PC or laptop with you unknowingly giving your consent. Somewhere in the small print you give permission to many online email services to read your emails and then show you advertisements related to the content of those emails.

Keystroke loggers are much more malicious examples of spyware. What they do is to record every single stroke of your keyboard. That information is stored in a file, which are then sent to the owner of the software regularly. As you will understand, this is an extreme security risk. If you do online banking or store any confidential information on your computer, a keystroke logger can send any of that information to someone who wants to use it against you.

Ordinary anti-virus tools do not pick up the majority of spyware and adware. This is because they work differently from the normal computer virus and often embed themselves in the computer's operating system. To remove spyware from your computer, do a search on Google for spyware removal tools. There are many programs you can download for free - beware, however, that the "spyware removal tool" is not actually a spyware installation tool. A good one that we have tested is Advanced System Care.

Your first step is to shut down your Internet connection and close your browser. Then scan the computer. If the software picks up adware or spyware, it will first ask before removing it. Unless you don't want a specific program removed at any cost, hit the 'Yes' button to clean up your computer.

Spyware removal is not something you should do one a year, or even once a month. If you knew how many websites were trying to install spyware or aware on your computer during a normal day's web surfing, you would actually do it on a daily basis. Once a week is the absolute minimum. - 30430

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