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Your Computer May Be Infected. Here's how to check..

A recent research revealed that 80% of the ... today is infected with these ... spyware and most of the users are not aware of it. (Your computer could be infected by now too.) The most da

A recent research revealed that 80% of the computers today is infected with these dangerous spyware and most of the users are not aware of it. (Your computer could be infected by now too.) The most dangerous fact is, even though the anti-virus software is running, these software can even pass it and take over your PC.

Have you experienced any of the following?
* Awesome popups come out of nowhere, when browsing the web
* Home page reset to some other site

How can this happen?

- The components installed when viewing certain sites, starts up and running as soon as it's finished installing (or after the page is completely loaded) and with every windows startup since then. Their job is to collect information and report (or transfer) it to an external computer.

What is deceptive software? (Reference: www.microsoft.com)
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Spyware and unauthorized adware are two examples of "deceptive" software. Deceptive software includes programs which take over your home page or search page without first getting your permission. There are a number of ways deceptive software can get on your system. A common trick is to covertly install the software during the installation of other software you want such as a music or video file sharing program.

Whenever you are installing something on your computer, make sure you carefully read all disclosures, including the license agreement and privacy statement. Sometimes the inclusion of adware in a given software installation is documented, but it may appear at the end of a license agreement or privacy statement.

Sometimes deceptive software gets silently installed on your system without any warning at all. If you use Internet Explorer as your Web browser, this can happen if your Internet Explorer security setting is set to its lowest value. Make sure to keep this setting at the medium level or higher. Doing so will help you control what is being installed on your computer.

Have you ever had an experience where you were repeatedly asked to accept a download even after you said "no"? Creators of deceptive software often use such tricks to get you to load their software. If this happens to you, do not click "yes". Instead, try to close the Web page that first asked you to accept the download by hitting the "X" in the corner of the window. Alternatively, quit Internet Explorer and restart it to begin browsing the Internet again. If you visit a Web page that continually displays these tricky pop-up windows, that Web site may not be worthy of your trust.

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Your computer may be infected by now, but you may not know. Just have a checkup with a software specifically designed for it, to know the current status of your computer. You must clean infections once you find it but you can't top it at that. The spyware might reinfect your PC. So it's highly recommended that you run a firewall on your system after the clean up. This will allow you to monitor every single communication that occurs between your computer and the external world and block the ones that are harmful. The firewall acts as a barrier between your PC and the external world (Internet / Network).

A good spyware detector recommended by most people is, NoAdware at http://noadware.cjb.net and it shows you all the infections and potential dangers in great detail. It's free to scan but not to clean. It's a good idea to have a scan even if you have no idea of cleaning, since you will know the status of your PC in great detail - at least you will know whether you have any spyware on your PC at all! (Most of the time it's there, but you don't know! So, don't be surprised to get a list of over 30 suspicious components detected!) Scanning will also give the advantage of giving a try to clean it out, provided that the infections are minor and you (or a friend) have a fair knowledge on windows file system. (Registry settings, Cookies etc. and how to modify them.)

You must run a firewall. In many new operating systems(eg. Windows XP), there is a built-in firewall. Google search on how to activate it. Others may try one at http://www.download.com

You may have a question by now. What is the purpose of these spyware? Even though we cannot give an explicit and clear cut answer, we can safely state that everything boils down to the urge of more profits. How? The spyware collects all your personal information and transfers it to an external computer. The information is reviewed by a software in the receiving computer and then delivered targeted popup ads to the infected PC. There are many things that spyware does in addition to this.

If you have some technical knowledge about your PC, here's a technical explanation on what trouble does the spyware cause.

1. An extra process is running to monitor and log your activities.
2. Constant transfer is taking place between your PC and the spyware server. (This is a two-way transfer)

Firstly, the extra process in itself is an undesired process and it contributes to slow down your PC. Second point is the most harmful. It transfers logged info on the infected PC to the external PC (Spyware server) and then the external PC transfers targeted popups to the infected PC. (Targeted popups are popup ads that are delivered based on user interests. User interests are analyzed by special software running on the spyware server, using information transferred by your PC as input.)
Since many extra processes are running (eg: monitoring processes, transferring processes etc.), your RAM (memory) will be shared and as a result, your PC will run slower. This also slows down your Internet connection speed because a lot of transfer is taking place and your total available bandwidth is shared.

In short, PC with spyware is like a dumping ground for snakes. Once its there up and running, it can do almost anything with your PC.

* NOTE: A useful tip - When you clean up your PC and close the door for those harmful programs with a firewall, you can block many popups. But still, there can be some popups. There are popups integrated to websites you visit, and we must to do something about them. There are many popup blockers available on the net, but I highly recommend installing the Google toolbar, which has a quality pop-up blocker integrated to it. It also has some other useful features and is highly customizable. Download it free at http://toolbar.google.com.

The most risk is for people who use Internet Explorer, as it is the most popular web browser and that very fact has drawn more attention of many malicious software developers. All of us want to make our PCs good and clean, right? So advise your friends about this, or if you had this article by emailBusiness Management Articles, just forward it.

Happy surfing...

Article Tags: Deceptive Software, Internet Explorer, Spyware Server

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


By: Fazly Mohamed - fazlymohamed@yahoo.com
(Undergraduate at Staff. University UK, Computing & IT)



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