Protection Against Spyware

What is spyware?
Any software that covertly gathers user information through the user's internet connection without his or her knowledge or consent, usually for advertisement purposes. spyware is typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the internet. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the internet and transmits that information to an outside party via a host server. spyware can also gather e-mail addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers. It can invade your privacy, bombard you with pop-up windows, slow down your computer, and even crash your computer.

Spyware that is often associated with software that displays advertisements is also known as adware.

Sign of spyware infection
If your computer starts to behave strangely or displays any of the symptoms listed below, you may have a spyware installed in your computer:
  • You see pop-up advertisements all the time.
  • Your computer settings have changed and you can't reset them permanently to your preference.
  • Your web browser contains additional components that you don't remember downloading.
  • Your computer seems sluggish.
How to get rid of spyware?
Most spywares are difficult to remove. If you try to uninstall the spyware like any other program, you may find the spyware program reappears as soon as you restart your computer. You may need to download an Anti-spyware tool that can properly remove it. Several companies offer free and low-cost software that will check your computer for spywares and remove them.

Some internet Service Providers (ISPs) include Anti-spyware software in their service packages. Check with your ISP to see if they can recommend or provide a tool. There are hundreds of Anti-spyware software available on the internet and the following sites will get you started:
How to prevent spyware?
The following are several ways you can help protect your computer against spyware:
  • Update your operating system (OS) regularly especially the critical and security updates.
  • Set your browser's security level to medium or high.
  • Use firewall (hardware or software).
  • Install anti-spyware program.
The best defense against spyware is not to download it in the first place. Here are a few helpful tips that can protect you from spyware:
  • Only download programs from websites you trust. If you're not sure whether to trust a program or the website you wish to download from, ask a knowledgeable friend or enter the name of the program into your favourite search engine to see if anyone else has reported that it contains spyware.
  • Read all security warnings, license agreements, and privacy statements associated with any software you download.
  • Never click "agree" or "OK" to close a window. Instead, click the red "x" in the corner of the window or press the Alt + F4 buttons on your keyboard to close a window.
  • Be wary of popular "free" music or movie file-sharing programs, and be sure you clearly understand all of the software packaged with those programs or contents.