|Spyware, Adware, Malware, etc.|
Spyware is Malware that is installed on the target computer and collects data from the user concerning internet habits. In most cases the spyware is just watching where you go on the internet and how you get there. User information is rarely added to the package that is sent back to the originator (a computer/ server on the web). This data is utilized for marketing purposes by the advertising agencies to sell more advertising. If you wanted to sell widgets on the web and your marketing company had oodles of info in charts and graphs that showed that 95% of your target market visited this page on this particular site, would you not buy in!
|Adware||Adware is similar to spyware except it is designed to deliver advertising to your PC. This can be a redirect in your browser (example: you click on a link to a model on the Chrysler website and you are redirected to a similar model on the Chevrolet site) or it could be a direct popup on your desktop. The most notorious of this type of adware looks like a legitimate anti virus program. It pops up a screen that looks like it is from Microsoft and warns that you have multiple viruses on your computer. If you fall for this and click Fix now or "continue" it will bring you to a website to purchase the full version. After you fork over your hard earned money it will remove the viruses. Well there are no viruses, they do not exist. All the software does after you pay is turn itself off. Now a few week down the line it may turn itself on again and tell you now you have "Trojans" or "worms" and of coarse you have to purchase the plugin for that.|
There is no one solution. However there is an answer. First make
sure your system is up to date. Run the windows update applet and
download/ install all the recommended patches and updates. Don't
forget the browser updates. Speaking of browsers, are you still
using Internet Explorer. Try Firefox (www.mozilla.com)
as an alternative. Not only is it a safer browser to use but runs
faster than IE and combined with Abine Security Suite (see the
add-ons under tools and search for "abine") it makes an excellent
front line for the war against spyware and adware. Next set your browser to delete your Temporary
Internet files on exit. To accomplish this with your browser open go
to "Tools" and "Options" in Firefox or "Internet Options" in
Internet Explorer. In Firefox click on the "Privacy" tab at the top
of the window. at the bottom of this tab is a section called Private
Data. Check the box next to "Always clear my private data when I
close Firefox" now click the "Settings" button and check everything
except "Saved Passwords". With Internet Explorer
choose the "Advenced" tab and at the bottom of the list in the
"Security" section check the box labeled "Empty Temporary Internet
Files folder when Internet Explorer is closed".
Now go to www.safer-networking.org and download "Spybot Search and Destroy", while you are at it please make a donation to this guy, he has put a lot of time into a great piece of software. For tips on installing and using Spybot Search and Destroy click here
Malwarebytes is a great free scan and remove program that is user friendly. Download it from Cnet here, install and run the update befor using.
Finally download Microsoft's Windows malicious Software Removal Tool once a month after the second Tuesday of each month. This little goody is part of the regular updates but only runs a quick scan of your system. If you download it manually each month from the Microsoft site, save it to your desktop and run it and choose "Full Scan" from the menu it will scan your whole system. It will automatically remove any problem items it finds. and fix any damage if the original files are still on your system!