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Symptoms of a Spyware or Adware Infected Computer

  • Endless pop-up browser windows
  • redirected to unwanted web sites
  • unexpected toolbars in your web browser
  • unexpected or new icons task tray
  • browser's home page suddenly changes
  • certain keys fail to work in your browser (e.g. the tab key)
  • random Windows error messages appear
  • your computer suddenly seems very slow when opening programs or processing tasks
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    Spyware is software that sends information about you to a database maintained by the software distributor. This information is usually (but not always) general in nature. The software tracks things like which sites are visited and what you buy. Although the software is capable of transmitting your name and credit card number no reports exist that this is happening yet.

    That is the key. Companies could, without your consent or knowledge, collect thousands of credit card numbers. Or names and addresses. They aren't now, but there is no way to stop them. Spyware is installed on your computer automatically when you download seemingly innocent free software. You don't know that it's working so you can't protect yourself.

    Adware is not the same as Spyware. Companies offer Adware free, then put advertising into the software to make money on the deal. Adware will always have a clear explanation of what you are giving up in exchange the free software. Spyware never mentions the data gathering that will go on inside your computer.

    The biggest problem with Spyware is the lack of disclosure. If consumers where given some sort of warning that to download certain software is to download Spyware, the Spyware would loose it's insidious nature. But for now no such warning exists.

    The best defense against Spyware is the Internet. There are numerous sites dedicated to protecting you from the effects of Spyware. You can find lists of known Spyware and procedures for removing it from your computer, free software for protecting your computer against Spyware, and Antispyware software for sale.

    If we can educate people about Spyware eventually it will be crushed out of existence. Companies can not be allowed to invade individual privacy in such a blatant manner.


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