Adware and Spyware
By Ken Dennis
What is 'adware'?
Adware is basically software or scripts that are hidden
on your computer, that make advertising show up all over
the place. It may be an extra menu in your web browser,
icons appearing on your desktop, bookmarks or favourites
appearing out of no where, and pop up ads that seem to
come from no where!
What is 'spyware'?
Spyware is similar in nature to adware, however I feel
its purpose is slightly more sinister. Spyware as the
name implies, spies on you. It may record information
about your web surfing habits, time you spend online,
your e-mail address, and what web sites you frequent. It
then takes this information and sends it to various
companies for the purpose of adding you to mailing lists
What should I do?
When you surf or download programs you are most
vulnerable to these types of programs. Often adware and
spyware applications are hidden inside 'free' software.
You install the application and then behind the scenes
it installs the spyware or adware. Another common method
for people installing applications on your computer is
tricking you in to doing it. Sometimes when you surf a
website or play a game online they will need you to
install an application to proceed. Often a box will
appear that asks you for permission to install this
application and you clicking 'yes' allows you to
continue. However at the same time you just got some
adware or spyware installed. The best advice I can give
is just read very carefully all messages that pop up on
your screen, don't just hit enter or click ok as so many
What do I do if I already have spyware or adware
There are many free applications available on the
Internet, however I think that most people would agree
that one of the best is 'Ad-aware' by Lavasoft. It is
freely available and they update their database files
very regularly. In essence, it is a virus scanner, which
only looks for adware and spyware. Once it finds some it
will prompt you and ask you what course of action you
would like to do.
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