an electronic device in your home or office was gathering data about you without your
knowledge or consent? You wouldn’t like that, would you? Is it the TV? The
telephone? No. It is your computer. Spyware is unwanted software that may
have sneaked its way onto your PC over the Internet to gather data about you and
sell it to advertisers. This allows them to send you targeted sales pitches
based on that data. Some of these programs do no worse than make pop-up and
pop-under ads appear. Other malicious programs can be used by criminals to
commit identity theft.
“Just how did I get I get it?” Have you ever clicked on an advertisement that promised something for free like screen savers, or an electronic wallet to store user IDs and passwords? Nothing is really free. If you actually read and understand the legalese mumbo jumbo they want you to click “yes” on; they count on you not reading it; the End User License Agreement (EULA) says that you agree to have your web surfing habits monitored in exchange for free use of whatever they are pitching.
Maybe you have kids who like to trade music online using Kazaa, Limewire, and countless similar programs. These are “free” because they are advertiser supported. This usually means they have spyware in them. Also, many files that appear to be songs on these networks are not. They are Trojan Horses masquerading as songs meant to harm your computer.
“I have a virus scanner, so I am safe, right?” No. Spyware is not a virus per se, and many virus scanners aren’t even looking for it. You might need a spyware scanner in addition to your virus scanner.
"How do I know if there is spyware on my system?" Do you get pop-up and pop-under ads so often that it is hard to get anything done? Has your computer become so slow that you think it may be time to buy a new one? Does your computer lock up or crash? These are all signs that you are infected. The Computer Wizard can help. I can get rid of spyware for you, and teach you how to avoid getting it again. Frequently, the only solution is to re-format your hard drive and re-install Windows, but I can back up your data first so important things like pictures, e-mail and office documents are not lost.
©2012 Matthew G. Brown