As the name suggests, spyware is software that tends to monitor your activities on your computer. The users are not always aware of the installation and subsequent functioning of a spyware program until and unless they see some minor changes in the performance of their computers. These changes could be as minor as web browsers displaying different home pages or redirecting to sites you didn’t want to go to. The major effects of the presence of the spyware would be degradation in the performance of the machine. Most of the times, once installed, spyware starts making a record of the websites you visit and can also take control of your machine in order to permit more spyware or other malware to be installed on your system without your knowledge. In the scarier version of the spyware, the software can also collect personal information like birthdays, names, addresses, account numbers, and passwords stored on your system.
If you are convinced that you may have spyware on your computer or that you are vulnerable to an attack then these tips will help you solve the problem. However, keep in mind that prevention is always a major half of the cure therefore some of these tips will also deal with prevention.
- Since prevention is best, it would be prudent if you avoided visiting websites that deal with downloading free software, cracks for games, music, or emoticons.
- Avoid clicking on pop up advertisements that claim to be able to scan your computer for spyware.
- Don’t install any toolbars that are not provided by recognized and reputed websites.
- Don’t indulge in sharing files over the internet, especially through peer to peer file sharing software.
- If you are using software to protect your computer against spyware then it would be prudent to keep the software updated and run scans regularly.
- The first and obvious step you should take to remove spyware is to install an anti spyware software on your computer. Make sure that it has been made by a reputed manufacturer and has received good reviews from other users.
- The next step would be to scan your system for spyware. Some of the software available allows you to do a ‘deep inspection’ scan which inspects every single file on your system. The best way to run the scan is to do it from the ‘safe mode’ if you are using Windows as the operating system on your computer.
- If you are well versed with Windows then you can set ‘system restore points’ and revert back to them if you suspect a spyware attack on your computer. Restoring the computer to an earlier date will make sure that some of the spyware installed after the point was created, will be deleted.
- The most drastic thing you can do to get rid of spyware is to re-install the operating system on your computer after formatting the hard drive. This is not a practice you should follow often because every time you format the hard drive, along with the spyware, you will also be deleting ‘everything’ else stored on the computer.
- It would be not to take the possibility of a spyware attack lightly and especially so if you are in the habit of storing personal information on your computer. Following these tips could make all the difference between a secure system and an insecure one.