Malware vs. Spyware

Antispyware software are programs which will block, discover or remove spyware from your computer system. Spyware are programs that fall under the catagory of malware. Malware is a term that can be used to describe a wide range of software that is written for malicious purpsoses and which can cause various types of problems to your computer system. Malware can range from spyware and adware to viruses and worms. Spyware can come in a number of forms but it is most commonly software which has been unknowningly installed on a system which tracks data about the system and users and that can even make unwanted or unknown changes to computer’s settings.

Ad-ware and Spyware

The purpose for spyware to be tracking such data can vary in nature of intent from anonymous observation software refered to as Adware to very mailicous programs such as keyloggers. These adware programs which track a system’s internet visits and report it back to another computer are often installed with programs which a user has purposely installed on a system. The terms of the installment of these adware programs are often included in the terms of service of the user desired software and can be willfully rejected if the user so chooses to deny these aditional programs installation on the system. In some cases the desired software may be installed without installing the Adware programs and in some cases it is required. The more malicious version of spyware comes in the form of programs which have been included in illegally altered software to unknowingly install on a system or which have been installed by unauthorized users. This type of spyware is designed to do many things from tracking keystroke input by the user to crack passwords to recording personal information of the user such as e-mails and screen recordings. Spyware and Adware can often lead to the slowing of a system due in part to several factors.

Spyware programs can slow down your computer in many different ways. Spyware may change your Windows registry which can cause system slow down and errors among other problems. If your not sure what a registry is, it is used by Windows to find the location of a program or file. Spyware programs can also take up memory space which may cause problems computers which have a very restricted amount of secondary storage memory. Spyware may also slow a system down by taking up high speed memory or RAM as well as bogging down a system’s cpu by taking processing time as well as slowing an internet connection by taking away bandwith to brodcast information. All this extra work can cause problems with your computer and ultimately shorten the life span of hardware components and your computer as a whole.

There are several signs that may indicate that spyware has been installed on your computer, here are some that may be readily noticable. These are not all of the indicators of spyware being installed on a system but some of the major problems which may arise.

  • A large number of advertisment pop-ups appear very frequently everytime you browse the web or even if a web browser has not been opened.
  • There are bookmarks, favorites, toolbars, searchbar or other components which appear on your browser which you did not install or previously set.
  • You are taken to company websites, affliate pages or pages other then your normal homepage as soon as you open your browser when you did not set your browser to do so.
  • There have been changes made to your browser or system setting that you did not make and that may not be able to be changed.
  • Your computer is generally running slower on start-up, program operation or overall.

Spyware and Adware Protection

There are a number of programs which you may use to find spyware and adware on your system but much like a computer virus, it is much better to prevent spyware then to clean it from your system so we will get into ways to stop it first. The following is a list of tips that should help you prevent your system from falling victim to spyware.

  • When installing shareware or freeware programs always read in the terms of use policy before agreeing to them. These should warn you of any software that will be installed that contains Adware.
  • Keep your system as up to date as possible. If using Windows you can help do this by setting your computer to automatically update when available.
  • Be careful where you browse and try to stay away from suspicious sites or sites which ask for your consent or agreement to enter or access.
  • Be careful where you download files and only install software from reputable compaines and sites.
  • Make sure that you have a firewall setup to protect your computer and network.
  • Make sure that your browser security setting are configured for maximum protection and security.
  • Install an Antispyware program which can detect potential threats before they endanger your system.

Recommended Antispyware Software

There are a multitude of choices when it comes to Antispyware software and while there are many free software downloads, we have found that the paid versions of software packages offer better all around security, detection and protection.

Free Antispyware Software

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Brian Gilbert

Brian has been a website administrator with WhatIsMyIP.com since early 2006. He's known in the forum as WIMIAdmin. He has an extensive computer background that started back in the early 80's when his mom bought him his first computer, a Texas Instruments TI-99/4A. Brian has turned his passion for technology into a full time gig.

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