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Spyware is a program installed on your computer, with or without your permission that can change system configurations, monitor your Internet activity and broadcast the information back to an outside party, often advertisers. 

 
 

Spyware can be fairly harmless, just tracking your activities in order to display relevant advertising (aka adware), but other types of spyware can take a great deal of control over your system - setting your start page to a particular site and forcing your browser to load specific pages during your surfing sessions. It can also be used as a conduit for installing other programs, such as keyloggers that record your keystrokes, history, passwords, credit card information and other confidential and private information.

           

One spyware trick puts a flashing message in your system tray and window alerts stating that you have spyware on your computer.  unscrupulous "anti-spyware" companies out there that create malware to infect systems and then offer a solution to remove it - for a price. In some cases, the software that they provide does nothing to clear up other spyware infections.

The best protection for your computer is a 3-tiered approach: Valid anti-spyware software, anti-virus software, and a firewall.

Contact Thone PC for help with detecting, removing, and keeping off spyware and viruses.  We will also show you how to keep that software off of your PC!
 
Spyware can worm its way into your computer even if you are careful while surfing the Internet. Nowadays, it may even invade your system if you simply visit certain web sites. Applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from media-supported sites. These sites are infamous for carrying spyware infections. It is usually disclosed, but buried, at the end of a License Agreement or Privacy Statement. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Occasionally, spyware authors will pay shareware creators to wrap-in spyware with their software.

Spyware is becoming more sophisticated and many applications are designed to spread themselves out on your PC, making it more difficult to wipe them out completely.

 

             
Symptoms of Spyware: Slow Computer Performance: This could include slow boot time, sluggishness when surfing the Net, or high activity on your network.


System instability: If you’re PC freezes up, reboots, or loses information this is a sign of Spyware.


New Toolbars, links, menus or buttons: Spyware called hijackers can install themselves to your PC without your knowing. Keep an eye out for new icons, links, changes to your Favorites or buttons on your browser.


New Shortcuts on your Desktop or system tray: Be suspicious of any new icons on your desktop that are unknown. Also look in your system tray in the lower right to see if any unknown programs are running.


Hijacked Homepage: When you startup your browser if your homepage is different than is used to be you may have spyware. It basically changes your home page prevents you from changing it back to another page or even visiting particular websites.


Hijacked Search results: When doing a search it pulls up a list of bogus results directing you to unsafe web pages are setup to capture your personal information.


New “page cannot be displayed” landing page: Instead of the standard browser response when a webpage times out you get a new page that can direct you to unsafe websites.


Abnormal increase in pop-ups: This is what we call adware. These programs download to your machine and will constantly pop up ads and other annoyances even when you aren’t connected to the Internet. Keep watch for error messages asking suspicious questions or directing you to unknown websites.


Unusual number of hyperlinks: If you see specific words highlighted or hyperlinked on a page you may have spyware installed on your machine. The program will have a list of certain words that it will highlight on all WebPages that you visit so if you click on that word it takes you to an unsafe site.

Ending up on unknown websites: Hijackers can re-route you to unknown websites.