If you are going online with your personal computer, you need to know about spyware. Spyware refers to programs that run on your computer that can do things like feedback your personal information to the makers of the program. Other spyware programs don’t necessarily spy on you but they can make your computer function without you. For example, if your homepage suddenly changes to the “make yourself a million” website you have been a victim of spyware. Fortunately, if you do get infected with spyware, there are powerful programs available to help you remove it. The even better news is much of the spyware removal software is free.
One thing you should know about the free spyware removal software is that installing anti-spyware software can prevent you from ever needing to remove spyware. If you are using a commercial anti-virus program like Norton or McAfee, you are protected. Basically, all of the anti-virus software that you pay for comes with strong anti-spyware programs included. However, if you have downloaded one of the free anti-virus programs from the Internet you are not protected from spyware.
There are free anti-spyware programs that you can download. Windows makes its own anti-spyware software called Windows Defender. This software has been available as a free download since October of 2006. The new Windows Vista program comes with Windows Defender software already installed. Another big name that provides anti-spyware protection for free is Lavasoft. However, these programs are not quite as good as the spyware programs that come with commercial anti-virus programs.
Another thing to know about the free spyware removal software is that it is as effective to use after you have been infected with spyware as before. In fact, some of the major anti-spyware programs are actually spyware removal programs. The way these programs work is by periodically scanning all of the files on your computer and then removing any spyware software that is detected. Most programs allow you to schedule your “cleaning”. You may want to check for spyware on a daily or a weekly basis.
If you are looking for spyware removal software on the Internet, be careful of imposters. In what is an ironical scam, some spyware companies are peddling their downloads as free spyware removal programs. The trick is that once you have clicked to download the program, what you are actually downloading is spyware onto your computer. Avoid fake spyware removal programs by seeking and downloading legitimate programs from legitimate companies. Windows Defender is legit, and so are the spyware programs by Lavasoft and Spybot Search & Destroy.
Finally, if you want to use free anti-spyware software you need to be careful. In head-to-head tests against commercial software, the free software was significantly inferior. For example, Windows Defender was only able to remove about 60% of the infecting software, and Spybot was only able to remove about 70%.
The good news is that you can download more than one free anti-spyware program and give yourself better protection. If you are downloading one free program, why not download two or three? With three programs working there is a good chance that the programs work in different ways and will catch and miss different invading spyware programs. If a spyware program falls through the cracks on one of your programs, you can possibly patch that crack with another program.
Finally, if you are using free anti-spyware software, remember to update your protection often. Spyware is changing as fast as or faster than other malwares out there. You need to make sure you have state of the art protection to match the changing programs.