Best Spyware Protection
Spyware is a type of malicious software, distinct from viruses, Trojan horses, and other cybernasties. Spyware does no damage to your computer and does not bombard you with annoyances like popup advertisements, generally speaking. Spyware is designed to go totally unnoticed, in fact. But in the background, spyware is spying on you and reporting back to its master. Here's how to protect and defend against spyware...
What is the Best Spyware Protection?
Spyware may track where you go and what you do online. Worse, it may record every keystroke and mouse click you make - including the usernames and passwords of bank Web sites. It may covertly search your email, collecting addresses and looking for patterns of characters that are probably credit card numbers and so on. It may search your hard drive for data files belonging to personal financial software such as Quicken. Whatever it does, spyware also covertly transmits its findings back to the people who planted it on your computer. Those people have various purposes, some illegal, and some of them legal -- no matter how much they offend common courtesy.
Some symptoms that you might have a spyware problem include: a computer that's running slower than usual, new toolbars appearing, your browser's home page has changed, difficulty reaching your favorite search engine, and other settings that have changed for reasons unknown.
Spyware protection software detects and blocks attempts to insert spyware into your computer. It can also scan your system for existing spyware and delete it. Free spyware removal software is great to have if you want to maintain your privacy and remove spyware from your computer. My favorite spyware removal tool for many years has been Windows Defender from Microsoft. I highly recommend it for Windows XP users, and fortunately it's now included in Vista and Windows 7.
Another useful anti-spyware tool that I recommend is MBAM - MalwareBytes Anti-Malware. And if you want to add another layer of defense, some other well-regarded free spyware detection and removal programs include:
Other Spyware Tools, And a Caution
I've written previously about Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool, a free utility for Windows users that does limited spyware protection. It scans your hard drives for known malware, including spyware programs, and will delete them at your option. But it does not provide continuous real-time protection against installation of new spyware or other malware, so don't rely on this tool as your sole defense.
Most anti-malware software suites, such as AVG, Avast! AntiVirus, and Microsoft Security Esssentials include spyware protection modules. So do most system maintenance and cleanup software suites such as the aforementioned Advanced System Care, Norton Utilities, and so on.
You have to be careful when you go looking online for free spyware removal software. Many of the Web sites that offer free spyware removal kits are wolves in sheep's clothing. The spyware removal free download may actually be spyware itself, or some other form of malware. To avoid this trap, look for many recommendations of effective spyware detection and removal software so you know who developed it. Then get your free spyware protection download directly from the developer's Web site, not from some third-party distributor who may be giving you spyware instead.
Which is the best spyware protection and removal tool? It often depends on which spyware you've been infected with. Often, one program will catch a certain spyware program, and others will miss it. That's why some users like to scan often with multiple spyware detection tools. If you're running Vista or Windows 7, you've already got Windows Defender. My recommendation is usually to stick with that tool, add MBAM as a secondary scanning option, and try one of the others if it seems that the problem is still unresolved. Just don't have multiple antispyware tools active at the same time, since they can interfere with each other and slow your computer.
Do you have something to say about spyware protection? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 28 Jun 2010
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Best Spyware Protection (Posted: 28 Jun 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved