How to protect your computer online against viruses and spyware

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Adware in the Computer

Spying software that monitors your computer use

If you have been a computer and internet user for some time, no doubt you know of various adware programs that end up being installed on your computer without your consent. These spying software programs vary from being harmless trackers of your internet activities, do rather nasty software programs that monitor or control your computer use.

Companies add adware to their software – usually freeware and shareware – to pay for programming costs. Spyware is a type of software that collects information from your computer and sends it to a third party without your knowledge or permission. For many years now, marketing companies have been taking advantage of computer users by writing programs and sneaking them into software downloads without their permission. This is done so they can force us to view their advertisements for products, or collect data from our internet habits.

A bug on computer keyboard's 'Enter' key
Without even realizing it, your computer could be infected with various adware bugs,
which tracks your online activity and even can control your computer use.

Is your computer infected with adware

Is your computer adware free? Most likely not, unless you dilligently clean your computer at the end of each session and scan it with an up to date anti-spyware and antivirus program.

Have you ever visited a peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing site and downloaded games, movies, music or just about any files from these free sites? If your answer is 'yes', then there's a good chance that your computer is infected with adware.

These download files are usually bundled with the Kazaa file-sharing program, as well as other free software programs. Among the worst offenders are so-called free screensavers, which often come with some adware or spyware bundled in. These spying programs will monitor your computer use and internet tracks, illicitly sending their reports while your online to their host.

Unless you're on a well-known and reputable site, simply don't download any programs or files, especially if they're free and sound too good to be true.

How to detect adware

Like other spyware programs or viruses, adware programs are usually detected when your computer starts doing things it wasn't meant to. Things such as popups and pop-unders, your getting off a website taking a little longer than usual, or your internet line indicating data is being sent or received when it shouldn't - your internet or LAN light flashing even after you exit browser.

If you have a major adware or spyware problem, then you might find your computer slowing down, even coming to a crawl. This means the adware on your computer is using up your operating system resources, slowing it down.

Some 10 years ago you could probably have no Internet security applications and still would have come out spyware or virus free, after surfing online. But these days you'll often have only minutes online without antispyware and antivirus program, before your computer gets adware infected.

Removing adware

Adware are fraudulent programs that foul machines, undermine productivity and in many cases frustrate consumers' efforts to remove them from their computers. Lawmakers are recognizing the adware problem and the invasion of privacy that these marketing companies are causing and are working on laws to make them outlawed.

But until that day comes, if ever, the best we can do is educate ourselves about PC security and how to protect and remove spyware from our computer systems.

You do not have to put up with this anymore, and you can actually remove spyware and adware, doing so for free. The best way to remove spyware and adware is to download spyware removal tools, many of whom are available for free.

Keep in mind though that no one antispyware program will completely protect you against adware problem. You will have to download and utilize a few different antispyware programs in order to keep your computer adware-free.

Anti-spyware programs

An effective anti-spyware program will detect and remove all possible infected files. The first thing you will want to do is make sure you have the newest, most up-to-date anti-spyware scanning program on the market. As soon as your download it, make sure you immediately update it. Many of these programs, even the latest versions, will not be fully up to date with the latest antispyware definitions, needed to effectively catch and clean nasty adware.

Unless you are an experienced computer user who knows how to remove adware manually, avoid downloading free-trial antispyware programs. There are two problems with these programs, even if they can be very effective:

1. False detection

After the initial scan, these free-trial antispyware programs will sometime show apparent adware on your computer, which it isn't. This is done to impress you and thus persuade you to buy, seeing how "effective" the program is.

2. Buy first, then remove infected files

More often, after the intial scan, the new free-trial antispyware program will successfully detect adware problem and pinpoint the location of infected files. But when you click to 'delete' or 'remove' those infested files, you will be told that you have to buy the antispyware program first, before it will remove the adware-infested files.

Therefore, you will often find that good, free antispyware programs will do the job just fine, without any catch.

Two of the biggest things that good Anti-Spyware programs accomplish for you are that they help in protecting your online privacy and they help make your computer run a lot better.

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