How To Spot And Avoid Spyware On A PC, This And Much More From Semalt

Spyware contrary to the name has nothing to do with espionage or undercover activities whatsoever. In fact, rather than undercover operatives, spyware is a tool used in marketing. It is also referred to as adware. Technically, spyware or adware refers to a type of software which once installed on your PC either redirects your web browser to new tabs or pop up ads. In some cases, the adware can be used to monitor how often you visit some websites. In extreme cases, cyber criminals can use spyware to track the keys you use to log in (key-logging) into your accounts. They can be used for other malicious purposes.

If the software installs into your system, then it becomes sluggish. All the same, there is need to consider the privacy implications. Ross Barber, the Semalt Customer Success Manager, advises to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What info is being gathered?
  • Who's receiving it?
  • How will the info be used?

Detecting spyware in your system

The following signs should warn you of a spyware intrusion:

  • if windows keep popping up when you're performing tasks on your PC, laptop or tablet;
  • if you keep being redirected to new tabs on your web browser often when you haven't done so;
  • if new toolbars keep showing on your web browser;
  • if you find changes you have not set especially the default search engine or the default homepage;
  • if random operating system errors say Windows errors appear, tasks take longer to execute as a result of the system being overwhelmed by background tasks. Space on the hard disk drive also decreases.

How do you protect yourself from spyware?

In most cases, spyware is installed without your intention. All the same, there are some precautions that can keep you from harm:

  • do not click on links appearing on pop-up windows: by default, pop-up windows are tools used by marketers who with or without your consent can install spyware. If you wish to close a pop-up window, click the 'x' icon.
  • respond with a 'no' when you're asked queer questions. Be wary of dialog boxes with questions like "would you like to install a particular program?" Always close or cancel these dialog boxes.
  • avoid free downloadable programs. There may be some programs offering customizable toolbars and other features. They may look good, but some could be a potential threat.
  • avoid email links claiming to offer free anti-spyware

There may be a scenario in which you suspect that your system has been infiltrated by spyware. If this is the case, adjust your web browser's preference to limit cookies and pop-up windows. Some cookies are considered as spyware because they track your web activity then send the data to unknown sources.

Getting rid of spyware

  • Install and update your antivirus program. These antiviruses can detect and remove spyware. Set up a firewall.
  • Run legitimate programs on your PC, laptop or tablet. Avoid cracked software or those which subscription have expired. They could get you in trouble.