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Ride yourself of spyware

February 24, 2006 04:29 PM EST | Spyware/Adware | Email to Friend

Spyware and adware is a big issue today and the problem is only going to get bigger over the next few years. To understand how to rid your computer of spyware you have to first understand why it is being created in the first place so why don’t we look at that.

Where did Spyware start?
Companies in the past created spyware as a service to their advertisers. What would happen is you would install an application that you thought was cute or useful like Bonzai buddy or Comet Cursors and you used this knowing that it was free. What you did not know was that these “free” programs in fact were tracking all of the websites that you were going to and then sending back the information to the company that created the application, this seemed to be bad but not many people were too concerned. After the companies got this information on your surfing habits then they would change the ads on web pages, this is adware, so that they were targeting topics that you had shown interest in, and of course those companies were picking up the advertising dollars for placing those ads on your computer.

Why Does Spyware still exist?
Now that you can see the basics of how spyware is created and why you can imagine how lucrative a business it is to create spyware. In fact the company that was Gator is now called Claria and made profits of $100 million last year. Since there is so much money to be made in the spyware business there are always a lot of new spyware being released. All of this spyware is probably really slowing down your computer and breaking your applications.

How did I get this Spyware stuff?
There are a lot of ways that a computer can get spyware and its cousin Adware. The most popular ways right now are still by installing programs that have the spyware embedded directly into it and is launched as soon as you install the program. Other ways to get spyware are from visiting webpages that drop Active X controls on your computer or run javascripts and even sometimes from objects placed within emails.

OK, How do I get rid of the stuff now that I have it?
Most of the time getting spyware and getting rid of spyware is not very difficult but it takes some work on the user’s part, that’s you! There are several programs out there that will get rid of the spyware and adware but the two that are most common are Spybot and AdAware both of these programs are free to download and free to use. I have used Spybot and Adaware for years now and I never use just one of the two, I always use both as they seem to each catch spyware and adware that the other does not.

What if These two free programs don't get rid of it all?
In the end you can not always rely on just one or two free programs but even just using these two free products will often make a big difference to speeding up and securing your computer. When you are ready you can look around and often find one or more great programs that will do it all in one place and do a better job at that.

Bill Nadraszky is a Systems Analyst and a computer software specialist. You can see more on Spyware and Virus removal and news at Spyware and Virus News and sites. If you are interseted in getting going in the computer support business Bill also has tips at his main technology site XP Tech Support

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