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Sajid 04-05-2008 05:54 PM

Conduct a comprehensive spyware and adware scan
 
It’s very important to conduct a complete scan of your computer, at least once a week if you tread the World Wide Web lightly and every day if you’re a full on addict to the cyber world.

The reasons behind the scan

A lot of users don’t understand why they should scan their PCs; as long as it’s working fine and there are no viruses. The answer is simple; Spyware and Adware. Firstly, Spyware is computer software that secretly places or patches itself on your PC, without your awareness. Many think that they’re harmless monitoring software, but the fact of the matter is that they seize partial control over your computer. It uses this control to collect information about you, such as personal details, credit card details and the like. It can also redirect your web usage, or install additional malicious software.

Secondly, Adware is computer software its sole purpose is to advertise certain products or services. It’s usually downloaded with other programs, but can also patch itself to your PC. For instance, if you download certain types of P2P programs, you will find Adware included in the installation. Unlike Spyware, usually Adware is visible to you as it advertises its products, but the trick is that you can’t remove Adware using conventional methods.

Thirdly, sometimes Spyware disguises as Adware; striking two birds with one stone.

So, whether its Spyware or Adware, you definitely don’t want them on your PC, because you don’t know their hidden agenda.

The conundrum

Most people find it hard to understand how to conduct a full comprehensive scan of their personal computer, especially with all the software available today. Should they buy or use freeware? Many leading antivirus Software are getting into the Spyware and Adware business, but the problem is that usually they’re very big in size, really expensive and they can’t remove everything. In addition, a lot of the leading software actually slows down the processing power of your PC.

A popular choice is to use more than one small-sized freeware to battle the different types of Spyware and Adware. This is a good idea, since you ensure that if one program doesn’t remove the malicious software, the other one will. The popular number is 2 programs.

Another problem is when to conduct the scan. If you have a lot of files on your computer, then the scanning program will usually take a lot of time to finish. So, it’s a good idea to set the software to scan the entire computer, while you’re sleeping. This way, it won’t interfere with your work, or slow you down. A lot of programs have the property of setting it to a specific scanning date and time, so it will be easy to automatically start the scanning. Just make sure you leave the computer turned on.

The Sly ones
Sometimes the Spyware can form infestations in the corners of your computers; the most famous place is the registry. The registry is the place where the operating system stores important settings and options and it’s rarely scanned. Although a number of anti-Spyware offer registry cleaning, there are special programs for cleaning the registry. These programs are usually very small in size, quick to install and easily start scanning. So, make sure you scan your registry and clean it at least once a month.

After the battle is won

After the scan is done, the program usually displays a report, in which it states the Spyware or Adware’s location on your PC, name, whether it’s a threat (and even the level of the threat) or not and the recommended action. It’s a good habit to browse through the report to learn and understand the usual locations of the malicious software. In addition, you learn which software to avoid through the names, so that next time you won’t fall in the same trap.

Another reason to monitor the report is cookies. Whenever you tell a website to remember you, it places a cookie on your PC; this enables the site to identify your personal preferences. If you have set some websites to your preferred settings, then it’s a good idea to prevent the anti Spyware program from deleting their cookies. You will recognize the cookies from their names and if you don’t know if it’s a friend or foe, just quarantine it. Then, you can search the internet, where you will find several useful articles and advice.

For those who are precise and sloppy
If you’re one of those people who have to know everything that goes on in your computer. It is handy to find out popular Spyware and Adware, so that you can identify them.

Yet, if you’re one those who are lazy, just remove all suspicious software. After all, better safe than sorry.


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