Saturday, December 09, 2006

How Anti-Spyware Helps

If your computer is behaving oddly, is slowing down, gets hung up in the middle of your work, or is bedeviled with “pop-ups,” then it is probably infected with spyware.

Spyware gets into your computer due to due to something you have done, like clicking a button on a pop-up window, or installing free games, programs or software.

It’s estimated that anywhere from twenty to fifty percent of online network traffic is accomplished by spyware.

In fact, on eighty percent of all corporate systems networks incorporate ad-ware; fifteen percent of these networks have system monitoring software running in the background.

There are lots of applications for the removal of spyware and for spyware detection, like Spybot, Ad-aware, and Microsoft Anti-Spyware. These provide vigorous detection and protection from spy-ware as well as internet cookie identification (which then lets you know where the cookies came from).

A good anti-spyware program should have the following:

1. Definition updates. This tool lets the user download updates to their anti-spyware in order to further protect their computer as new spyware is developed.

2. Real-time monitoring. This is similar to the anti-virus “real-time scanner.” That means the anti-spyware software runs continuously in the background – even when you’re busy working on other projects on your computer. When a malicious program is found trying to install spyware on your computer, the real-time monitoring is always ready to react to it. This is a feature usually available only on paid versions of anti-spyware.

3. “Restore browser settings.” While you have to be adept at digging around in the advanced settings or advanced tool menu of your computer in order to find it, most anti-spyware have an option that can re-set the setting of their web-browser if you’ve been the victim of “browser hijacking.” You must, however, be able to quickly restore the browser to its previous home page, or to reestablish the factory defaults.

4. Safe removal and rollback. An anti-spyware shouldn’t just remove spyware, it should be able to do so in a safe manner. It would be useless to remove spyware and find an empty blue-screen the next time you turn on your computer. All spyware should be able to be removed without damage to your computer. Some anti-spyware, however, may be too vigilant. Your program should not leave you without a way to restore your computer to its original state. This might mean the spyware will still be there, but at least you won’t lose your important files.

Most programs don’t find it necessary to be that aggressive. There are lots of programs out there that do a good job. Such programs examine the contents of the “operating system file” in the Windows registry. Then they eliminate files and entries that correspond to their list of identified spyware.

So before you go browsing through the internet, always make it a point to install anti-spyware programs. They offer so many advantages that help you fight against and defend yourself from upsetting and annoying spyware.

About The Author: Mary Miller contributes to several online magazines, especially http://nugot.com and http://lerse.com

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