Deal with the Spyware from Inside Out

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Dealing with Spyware:

Once Spyware infects your PC, the best option available is to download reliable removal software. However, keep in mind that many anti-spyware programs themselves come bundled with malware. So stick to some of the more tried and tested products that are widely available.

Spybot Search and Destroy is among the most popular anti-spyware tools out there. As the title suggests, it hunts down and removes any spyware on your PC. There are two modes of operation for the programs: easy and advanced. If you're a novice user, stick to easy mode. All you need to do is scan your PC and remove any suspected entries that Spybot detects.
Items which popup after the scan are marked in different colors: immediate threats are marked red, registry entries, which you should only remove with great caution, are marked black and the least-threatening entries are marked green. All deleted items are backed up, so you can restore them if you accidentally delete the wrong item.

Lavasoft Ad-Aware is another efficient program for removing spyware. It has three scanning modes: system scan, selected drive scan and customized scan. A really neat feature of this software is that it digs out tracking cookies and data miners from your PC. However, you have to regularly update the software so that it includes the lastest spyware threats.

HijackThis is yet another scanning too. One needs to be careful while using this program, as its results often turn up files critical to your Windows startup processes. Deleting any of these can seriously harm your PC. The best thing to do is to post your results on a tech forum such as TomCoyote and let experts look over your results to determine whether or not they contain a spyware threat.

Another method to deal with spyware is by installing and running robust antivirus software such as Norton or McAfee. The latest versions of these anti-virus programs hunt down spyware and adware along with viruses.

An important thing to remember is that uninstalling a program that you believe contains spyware does not guarantee that your will be left spyware-free. Spyware usually leaves its marks in some form on the PC and is almost never completely removed. You have to rely on anti-virus and anti-spyware tools in conjunction to purge your system of spyware.

Precautionary Measures:

To ensure that your PC remains safe from spyware, it always pays to be vigilant about your online activities. Being aware of what software is installed o your machine will also go a long way in restricting malware from entering your system.

There are some programs that are simply notorious for the amount of spyware they contain. Programs such as KaZaa Media Desktop, Comet Cursors, ZapSpot Games, Bonzi Buddy and Gator are blacklisted for blatantly bundling spyware. No matter how alluring the advertisements for any of these programs look or how many times they emphasize the word "free", installing them is a big no-no.

Another wise precautionary measure is to regularly and frequently scan your PC to ensure no spyware has sneaked in while you weren't looking. Updating the anti-spyware and anti-virus software on a regular basis is equally important as spyware threats are always increasing. Frequently updating and patching Windows is also highly recommended as malware often targets and exploits the many security flaws found within that operating system. If you're feeling really paranoid, you may also want to try and keep folders that are targeted by spyware empty. This includes browser histories, cookies folders, temporary files and caches. Programs such as Cookie Monster can be used to keep the cookies folder clean. You can also change your privacy settings in Internet Explorer to medium or high, thereby only allowing cookies from reliable websites. Finally, keep yourself informed about different symptoms of spyware as well as new removal tools that are available so that you may be altered to the presence of spyware on your PC and are able to safely remove it.


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