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Dealing with Spyware

Spyware (also called Adware) is a type of software which runs covertly on your computer. Generally, its purpose is to send you targeted advertisements based on the websites you visit. Spyware is a serious threat to your privacy and security on the Internet. This page answers some common questions about spyware.

How Did Spyware Get Installed on My Computer?

Spyware programs are typically installed secretly with other programs you install. For example, a file sharing application may be bundled with a program that installs itself along with the main program. You can remove the main program, but the spyware components remain deeply embedded in your operating system despite the fact that you no longer have the file sharing program installed.

Why Is Spyware Bad?

Companies that include spyware with their programs generally claim that bundling spyware allows them to offer their original programs for free. But you should know by now that on the Internet, few things are really free. Here are the main reasons why spyware is bad for your computer.

Spyware displays annoying popup advertisements.
The spwyare software connects to the Internet without you knowing, downloading advertisements in the background. These ads appear on your screen according to directions sent by the advertisers and by the people that make the adware software. You have no control over when or whether these ads appear. They can sometimes appear even if your web browser is closed and you are not even connected to the Internet!
Spyware violates your privacy by collecting information about your browsing habits.
In order to target their advertisements, spyware programs generally collect information about the web pages you visit. This information is sent to companies with whom you have no direct business relationship.
Spyware makes your computer insecure.
Most spyware programs have the ability to upgrade themselves automatically. That means new features can be installed without your consent. By allowing spyware to be installed on your computer, you are allowing the software vendor to change their software to do whatever they want. They could even look at your personal files and transmit data about you which you did not expressly provide.
Spyware slows down your computer.
Like any other program, spyware programs require computer processing power and hard drive space. In some cases, computers infected with multiple spyware programs slow down to the point that they are barely usable for Internet applications.
Spyware cannot be easily removed.
Spyware makers don’t want you to remove their software, so they purposely make it very difficult to do so. Even after you remove the original program which contained the spyware, the spyware software often stays behind, running in the background. In some cases, you can’t remove it directly because it isn’t listed in the “Add/Remove Programs” control panel.

How Do I Remove Spyware?

There are many programs that can help remove spyware from your computer. In order to do a thorough job, you may need to install more than one program to remove the offending software.

Free Programs
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