Technology Spyware Information
Has your Internet startup page changed unexpectedly? Are you flooded with popup ads, even when not surfing the web? Is your computer running slower than usual? Spyware may be the cause. As PC Magazine (March 2, 2004 issue) writes, "[Spyware] can manipulate your system, record your habits, and steal your passwords and credit card numbers. Depending on their degree of aggressiveness, they can steal your privacy or even your identity. And they can be terribly difficult to remove."
What Is Spyware?
Spyware is computer software that is installed on your computer, usually without your knowledge, that secretly gathers information about you and your computing habits, and sends that information to advertisers and other interested parties. There are many ways you can get spyware. Many "free" file sharing programs, for example, are bundled with spyware apps.
Spyware Removal Tools
Wabash IT Services has tested and recommends the following tools for detecting and removing spyware from your computer.
- Spy Sweeper - Windows (commercial product; free scan)
- Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware - Windows 2000/XP (Beta)
- Spybot Search and Destroy (download) - Windows
- AdAware (download) - Windows
- MacScan (download) - Macintosh
Recovering from Lost Network Access
Several spyware programs may corrupt your network settings when you remove the program, leaving your computer unable to connect to the Internet. Option^Explicit's WinsockFix program usually will repair these systems. You can download the program here, or get the software from the Help Desk in Baxter 33.
For More Information
PC Magazine has a cover story on spyware in their March 2, 2004 issue that offers a good overview of spyware, including how to avoid spyware and how to tell if you have spyware. They also review antispyware programs.
Feel free also to contact the Help Desk for more information, or for assistance in removing spyware or acquiring any of the removal tools.
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