Malware vs. Spyware

Anti-spyware software is programs that will block, discover or remove spyware from your computer system. Spyware is a program that falls under the category of malware.  Malware is a term that describes a wide range of software.   Moreover, the software written for malicious purposes.  Consequently, this can cause various types of problems in 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.   Further, the software installed unknowingly on a system that tracks data about the system and users.  Moreover,  the system and users can even make unwanted or unknown changes to the computer's settings.

Malware and Spyware (Ad-ware)

The purpose of spyware to be tracking such data can vary in the nature of intent. From anonymous observation software referred to as Ad-ware to very malicious programs such as key-loggers. Ad-ware programs track a system's internet visits and report it back to another computer. Consequently, the user has purposely installed the programs on a system.  The terms of the installment of these Ad-ware programs are often included in the terms of service.

In some cases the desired software may be installed without installing the Ad-ware programs and in some it is required. The more malicious version of spyware comes in the form of programs that have been included in illegally altered software. Secondly, the spyware unknowingly installs on a system or which has been installed by unauthorized users. This type of spyware is designed to do many things. Likewise, from tracking keystroke input by the user to crack passwords. Moreover, also to record personal information of the user such as e-mails and screen recordings.

Spyware programs can slow down your computer in many different ways. Spyware may change your Windows registry which can cause systems to slow down and errors among other problems. If your not sure what a registry is? Consequently, 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 have a very restricted amount of secondary storage memory. Spyware may also slow a system down by taking up high-speed memory or RAM. Spyware can also bog down a system's CPU by taking processing time. It can also slow an internet connection by taking away bandwidth to broadcast information. All this extra work can cause problems with your computer.

Signs of Installed Spyware or Malware

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

  • A large number of advertisement pop-ups appear very frequently every time you browse the web.  Consequently, even if a web browser has not been opened.
  • There are bookmarks, favorites, toolbars, search-bar or other components that appear on your browser.  Moreover, you did not install or previously set.
  • The browser goes to company websites, affiliate pages or pages other than your normal homepage.  Firstly, as soon as you open your browser.   Moreover, when you did not set your browser to do so.
  • Changes made to your browser or system setting.  This is something 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 that you may use to find spyware and adware on your system.  However, like a computer virus, it is much better to prevent spyware then to clean it from your system.  At this point, 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.  The terms should warn of any software that will contain Ad-ware.
  • Keep your system 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.  These site(s) will ask for your consent or agreement to enter or access.
  • Be careful where you download files and only install software from reputable companies and sites.
  • Make sure that you have a firewall set up to protect your computer and network.
  • Configure the browser security setting for maximum protection and security.
  • Install an Anti-spyware program that can detect potential threats before they endanger your system.

Recommended Anti-spyware Software

There is a multitude of choices when it comes to Anti-spyware software.  Also, there are many free software downloads.  That is to say, we have found that the paid versions of software packages are better.  They actually offer better all-around security, detection and protection.

Free Anti-spyware Software