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 and spam.
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 people do.
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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