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SPYWARE

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Posted 21st August 2008 at 03:51 AM by warfront

SPYWARE
Spyware could be referred to software that performs certain behaviors such as collecting personal information, advertising, or changing the configuration from what it used to be on your computer, without obtaining your consent or asking.
It is often associated with malicious software that displays advertisements and software that tracks personal and/or sensitive information.
It is however hereby not conclusive that all software’s provide advertisements or tracks your online activities is bad. Other types of spyware make changes to your computer that can be annoying and can cause your computer to virtually slow down or finally crash.
These programs can change or configure your browser's home page or search page, or add other components to your browser, which you may not need. Some settings on your computer may also be difficult to change due to these programs.
Spyware or other softwares that could be referred to as being unwanted can get on your computer in other different ways. A common trick is to covertly install the software during the installation of other software you want such as a music or video file-sharing program.
Make sure you carefully read all manuals, including the license agreement and privacy statements before you install any software on your computer. Sometimes the inclusion of unwanted software in a given software installation is documented, but it might appear at the end of a license agreement or privacy statement.


SIGNS OF SPYWARE
You may have spyware or other unwanted software’s installed on your computer if your computer acts strangely or displays any of the following signs listed below:

1. APPEARANCE OF COMPONENTS YOU NEVER DOWNLOADED
Unwanted Software and spyware can put additional toolbars to your Browser and even though you remove or delete them, they always find their way back to your system.
2. SLOWNESS OR YOUR COMPUTER DRAGS
If your computer experiences numerous program crashes and does not perform i.e. slower than it use to be at executing certain task, then you have unwanted software or spyware on your system. This happens due to the fact that efficiency is never a criterion in designing spyware or unwanted software.
3. CHANGE IN COMPUTER SETTINGS AND POP-UP DROP-DOWNS, POP-UNDERS
Spyware can alter home and search page settings on your computer. Attesting to this fact is the first appearance of unrecognizable pages when you load your browser or search page.
Also frequent appearance and bombardment of pop-up, drop-downs and pop-unders and other forms of web intrusive adds that has nothing to do with websites you are visiting is an indication of presence of spyware.

As clearly stated and outlined above, spyware in various ways works negatively against your computer. Unwanted and malicious software and spyware reduces your system’s performance since it slows it down, bombards you frequently with pop-up adds and most annoyingly invades your most cherished privacy. To avoid these happenings, you need to get spyware out of your computer if you feel your system is infected with it. Below are various remedies that could be of assistance.


1. SOFTWARE UPDATES

Ensure that your softwares are routinely updated if your Operating System is Windows XP to prevent spyware or unwanted software. Always visit http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=3646728 to confirm that you have downloaded the latest security updates and that you have turned on Automatic Updates.

2. ADJUSTMENT OF INTERNET EXPLORER SECURITY SETTINGS

These settings limit the functionality of Internet Explorer for any websites that you do not personally add to your "Secure Zone". This may seem very frustrating, all-the-same, there are two outstanding advantages:
i. Pop-ups, drop-downs, pop-unders including all other forms of intrusive web adds will not be displayed unless on sites that are declared to be “Secure Zone”.


ii. The possibility that you will be a victim to spyware and unwanted software will be low.

It is pertinent to note here that though these settings will not in totality eliminate all threats, it will surely reduce your risk of possible attacks from spyware.

For a guide on the right steps to adjust your settings please visit http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/using/howto/security/settings.mspx

3. FIREWALL USAGE

A firewall refers to software or hardware which provides protection between your computer and potentially damaging content on the Internet. The firewall is designed to guard your computer against malicious users, pop-ups, drop-downs and also against malicious software and unwanted software such as computer viruses. Microsoft Windows XP assists to provide more security in the form of a firewall that is known as the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF). Installing a firewall or using the firewall that's built into Windows XP provides a helpful defense against these hackers.












Many kinds of unwanted software, including spyware, are designed to be difficult to remove. If you try to uninstall this software like any other program, you might find that the program reappears as soon as you restart your computer.
If you're having trouble uninstalling unwanted software, you may need to download a tool to do the job for you. Several companies offer free and low-cost software that will check your computer for spyware and other unwanted software and help you remove it.
Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) include antispyware software in their service packages. Check with your ISP to see if they can recommend or provide a tool. If your ISP doesn't offer a removal tool for spyware and other unwanted software, ask people you trust to recommend one, or see the links in step 1 below.
Keep in mind that removing unwanted software with these tools may mean you will no longer be able to use a free program that came with the spyware.
To remove spyware

1.
Use Windows Defender. Windows Defender comes with Windows Vista. If you use Windows XP SP2, you can download Windows Defender for no charge.
2.
Run the tool to scan your computer for spyware and other unwanted software.
3.
Review the files discovered by the tool for spyware and other unwanted software.
4.
Select suspicious files for removal by following the tool's instructions.


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