Spyware is now a big threat to internet users. And getting enough spyware knowledge is the best defense. The first thing you need to do is to educate yourself how a spyware gets into your computer.
You also need to learn how and where to check for it. Then, be familiar with the basic spyware removal process by inspecting your tasklist or using spyware removal programs.
Spywares are often bundled on freewares (meaning softwares that can be downloaded for free). So, be careful when downloading free programs. You may want to read the complete user agreement to avoid installing unwanted programs. Another way that a spyware may get into your system is when you are accessing sites due to some security holes on a browser. It is recommended that you evaluate sites that you visit to avoid getting a spyware.
There are several ways to know if your computer is infected with the spyware. Here are the symptoms or signs :
Your computer runs slow or freezes up. Spywares tend to eat a lot of memory resources causing your computer to be sluggish and locking up.
You continually get pop up which may be uncontrollable. There are cases that pop ups will appear even if you are not accessing websites. There are some that may automatically appear upon Windows start up.
You have a hijacked default homepage. This means that whenever you launch your browser, an unknown default homepage will load which is not the one you have set on your Browser options or preferences. Then when you search for sites, it goes to another site than the one you are searching.
Bookmarks will list unknown adult-oriented or porn sites and casino or gamblings sites.
Spyware can be anywhere in your computer. However, there are several ways to check if your computer has one. And it is advisable that you remove it immediately once you found it.
Below are some basic tips on how to check and remove a spyware:
Check your tasklist.
Your tasklist will show you the programs currently running in your computer (to check your tasklist, press CTRL+ALT+DEL). If you are familiar with the files on your list, then you can easily determine which file is unwanted from the list. Then, it can be a spyware file.
Verify your start up list.
Since some spywares start automatically, then it is advisable to verify if your start up list contains a program, which you are not familiar with. You can do this by running msconfig (in the Windows Run Command, type ‘msconfig’).
Look for unfamiliar programs on your Program list.
You can do this by checking your Programs Menu or Add/Remove Programs under Control Panel. Select the programs or softwares which are not familiar to you and uninstall them.
Install one or two Anti Spyware programs.
There are antispyware programs that you can download and will help you remove a spyware from your computer. However, a good spyware removal tool is one that will also prevent a spyware from coming into your computer system. Do your research on the available antispyware programs and make a comparison.
Manually remove a spyware.
Remember that there are spyware, which cannot be removed by a spyware removal software but needs to be deleted manually. Look for spyware removal help sites that will provides steps in removing a specific spyware.
Please remember that the tips mentioned above should only be followed if you have enough computer knowledge (which means that you are a computer expert). Otherwise, contact a computer technician or your computer vendor to further assist you in troubleshooting your computer problems.