What is spyware?
Spyware is a collective name for malware software that actively monitors your computer and sends information covertly to interested parties, usually advertisers. From generic information regarding your browsing habits to sensitive data that includes your e-mail address and password, spyware software records them all. Later, online attackers use this data for marketing or spamming your computer and e-mail with unsolicited targeted advertisements.
How to detect installed spyware?
Most spywares is installed furtively, and its presence remains undetected by the user. You may have spyware installed on your personal computer or laptop if it shows any of the warning signs listed below:
- Your computer is running more slowly than normal. This indicates that some spyware programs are using up your bandwidth, memory resources, and processing power.
- · You see advertisements popping up even when you are not browsing the Internet.
- Your browser home page settings and search settings have been changed and you are not able to change them back.
- Additional components appear on your Web browser that you did not download, and you are unable to get rid of them.
- You try to open one website but your browser gets hijacked and you end up opening another website.
If you experience any of these warning signs, it may be prudent to use spyware removal programs that inspect the contents within the registry and operating system files and then remove all files and entries known to have spyware components.
Preventing spyware installation
To avoid the laborious process of spyware removal, it is better to pre-empt the installation and not get infected in the first place. Here are some ways in which you can protect your computer from unwanted spyware software:
1.Use a firewall: A firewall provides defense against hackers who can place spywares on your computer.
2. Keep your software updated: Make sure that you regularly update your software. A good way to ensure this is to enable automatic updates to download the latest security updates, especially those related to network and Internet activities.
3. Adjust security settings of your browser: Most browsers come with adjustable security settings to determine how much information you want to accept from a website. Setting security settings to medium or high can prevent spyware software downloads.
4. Install a pop-up blocker: Many spywares get installed when you mistakenly click on a link in some pop-up window. Installing a pop-up blocker can protect you from such accidents.
5. Install antispyware protection: Having the latest versions of antispyware tools is another way to protect your computer. For example, free tools such as Spyware Terminator and Spyware Doctor provide powerful spyware protection and defend your computer against malware attacks.
6. Download safely: Exercise caution while downloading from websites or even e-mail attachments from known senders. Before installing any program on your computer, ensure you read all license agreements, security warnings, and privacy statements associated with it. Many times, information about the right to install additional software is included in such documents.
A little extra care and attention while browsing the Internet can keep your computer safe from unsolicited attacks.
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