Checking Your Computer for Spyware

by Barbara J. Feldman on February 12, 2009

Few of us realize just how sophisticated our computer software is. It requires amazing amounts of programming and knowledge to get a computer to do the sorts of things that we expect of them. Unfortunately, we also don’t realize just how sophisticated harmful software programs have become. There are several different forms of harmful software such as viruses or worms, but another very important type is spyware. Spyware is designed to watch your computer and Internet browsing habits. It watches what you do and makes a record of it and then communicates this information to an outside source. This is a problem not only because it represents a basic invasion of your privacy, but also because sometimes the spyware provides more personal information, such as your name, address, phone number, credit card information, and social security numbers. It could potentially record a bank account number, although usually spyware only reports what sites you visit. Because spyware is both dangerous and annoying, you need to learn how to check your computer for spyware and get rid of it. Here are some of the basic signs that should tip you off to spyware:

1. Problems with your email. If your email seems to be doing strange things such as emailing peole without you actually doing so then you very well might have a spyware problem. Spyware can use your email account to send spam to friends and then infect them.

2. Sometimes if your computer has suddenly slowed down for no reason you might have a spyware problem. This is because spyware, like any other program on your computer, uses memory and energy. If you have added no new programs and there is a sudden slow down, spyware could be the problem. Although several other things could do this, spyware is certainly a possibility.

3. Does your browser automatically take you to pages that you don’t want to go to or see? If you find that your start page or any other page has automatically changed without your knowledge you probably have a spyware problem. This basically just means that something is causing your computer to do something outside of your control, which suggests that some program has to be controlling your machine.

4. Watch out for pop-ups that appear suspicious and come up behind your browser. These are common occurences that can tip you off to spyware. Watch out for spyware associated with questionable sites, such as pornography sites.

These are just a few of many different symptoms of spyware. Because these programs are constantly changing as hackers and others create new ways to rip us off, you wil need to adapt by keeping up to date on new spyware trends. This can be done in a number of ways but one is to search on trustworthy anti-identity theft sites for new information.

If you suspect that your computer has spyware you should look into getting some sort of anti-spyware software. There are several good brands available and many of them can help to clear up any kind of spyware on your computer. This is especially the case with programs that have automatic updates in order to protect you from new threats.

By investing in the right software you will help to fight the war against identity theft. It is important for you to stay well informed about new types of spyware and to keep your friends and family aprised of what you find. Realize that it is mostly just a little education that we need to put identity thieves out of work.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Checking Your Computer for Spyware." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 12 Feb. 2009. Web. 23 Oct. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/525/checking-your-computer-for-spyware/ >.