In recent times Spyware is becoming a much more common problem than viruses. In fact, it is estimated that around ninety percent of computers are infected with spyware in some way, yet many users are not aware of it. It is also now recommended that along with antivirus and firewall software that users should run, at the very least, one antispy security application of which there are many available for free. However, the best way to prevent spyware infections is to stop it getting on to your computer in the first place by using software which has an active shield constantly running. Spyware can slow the performance of your computer down to a crawl and cause annoying pop-ups containing advertising. Some more malicious forms of spyware can also collect your personal information and send it over the internet. It is true that spyware is increasingly becoming more like viruses and more malicious. There are even now plenty of spyware applications which show false alerts of your computer being infected, then directing you to websites that download even more malicious applications to your computer by pretending to be legitimate security applications which claim to cure the problem. Some forms of adware and spyware can be unknowingly installed alongside an application or game and In some cases the application or game will not function if the adware or spyware is removed.
Aswell as scanning your computer for viruses using standard antivirus software, it is also recommended that you regularly scan using antispyware software. I would personally recommend that this be done at least once a week. It is also advised that you should use more than one antispyware scanner, as new forms of malicious software are being invented every day and it is impossible for any one antispy software company to keep on top of all the new malicious software being discovered. Some software applications also use heuristic scanning in order to detect undiscovered threats by monitoring their activity on your computer. Although there are brand name applications available to buy to prevent spyware infections, there are also a number of them available for free which are sufficient enough to do the job adequately. Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware probably being my number one choice.
Effectively, cookies – which are stored on your computer every time you visit a website, are also a form of spyware as they collect personally identifiable information. I would recommend that you clear all the cookies in your cookies folder at the end of each day. This can be done from going into Internet Options in the Windows control panel. What a lot of computer users don’t realize is that aswell as the cookies being stored here, they are also stored in another folder inside the main Windows system folder. Going into this folder for beginners is a bit risky so I would therefore recommend downloading a free software application called CCleaner from Piriform. This is a fantastic and very useful application which scans for temporary files, including cookies, on your system and is the only software I know of that also deletes the Windows folder cookies. Should you have found any spyware on your system, once it’s been removed, you can then use Ccleaner to scan the registry and delete any left over files from the spyware.