Computer Spyware Detection
How do you know if you have a spyware or malware infestation? Do you know what actions to take once your laptop or PC is infected with spyware, ad-ware or viruses?
How do you know if you have a spyware infestation? Do you know what actions to take once your laptop or PC is infected with spyware, ad-ware or viruses?
It's estimated that around 90 percent of computer systems are infected with some form of spyware, ad-ware or virus. With odds like that, it's very likely that your computer either now has, or will soon manifest signs of a system take-over.
What is Spyware and What Does it Do?
Spyware is generally defined as software that secretly takes advantage of vulnerabilities in a user's computer system to the benefit of an unseen third party. The name spyware comes from the fact that the software often records information about your computer and transmits that information covertly to a remote server or intruder. Spyware can make your laptop or PC slow down, crash, get infected with viruses and worms and even cause hard drive erasure. This is on top of collecting sensitive data like your passwords, logins and banking or credit card details.
Spyware often comes bundled together with Ad-ware and browser hijackers. Ad-ware displays advertisements and hijackers secretly change your browser settings. An example of Ad-ware is a pop-up generator, which opens advertisements in pop-up browser windows, even when you're not searching the Web. Having recently had a severe encounter with Ad-ware on my own laptop, I can personally atest to the disruption, inconvenience and loss of sanity they can cause.
My system suddenly seemed possessed and would pop up cryptic error messages every 10 minutes or so. These messages were not true errors, but they were meant to give me the impression they were. An icon would later appear in my system tray which when clicked, started Internet explorer and opened to an anti-spyware site that offered to fix the problem with their own custom spyware removal software for around $30. I won't tell you the name of the site because I don't want anyone else to possibly get an infection but this company was obviously responsible for the problem in the first place. Of course, I didn't fall for this conspicuous sales ploy and if the same thing ever happens to you, DON'T buy anything from them. These slime-balls should never be allowed to profit from their "hold your system hostage" style tactics. Not only that, but they may be setting you up for another round of infections.
These pop-ups were difficult to locate and remove and what made things even more scary was that I also found malicious Trojans and Keyloggers on my system.
Anyway, I eventually removed my infestation but not until after several days of trying different Spyware/Ad-ware removal programs.
However, for now, let's focus on how you can spot the sure signs that your system may be the victim of an unwanted spyware infestation.
7 Signs of Spyware Infestation
1.- You're observing inexplicable slowdowns and crashes, especially when searching the Internet or running a security or anti-virus program
2.- Your Internet web browser opens to an unknown homepage, returns unanticipated search results, or directs you to an unsolicited website
3.- You find that your mouse, keyboard, monitor, or CD/DVD drive is unresponsive or acting unpredictably
4.- Pop-up or pop-under browser windows are opening when you are not surfing the Web, or are opening so often as to be distracting
5.- Your security or anti-virus programs are not functioning, and/or you cannot visit security-related web sites (eg. www.symantec.com)
6.- A program or application that you've tried to uninstall reappears when you reboot your computer
7.- Your PC seems to "have a mind of its own" and is difficult or impossible to control
Do you have some or all of these signs? If you do, you definitely have a spyware/malware situation on your hands and need to take action to identify and remove them before they do damage to your system.
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For a complete rundown on removing spyware, ad-ware and other nasty threats, visit http://pdatoday.blogspot.com/2008/02/how-to-remove-spyware-and-adware.html