May 19, 2007

Stopping Spyware

Wikipedia defines Spyware as " software that collects personal information about users without their informed consent." Some of it is worse than others. Most of it is used by marketing companies to track website usage to tailor advertisements to match your surfing habits. Others are a little more intrusive and can harm your computer.

I find that a lot of people are completely oblivious to spyware, and it's affects on their computers. Most average users have only heard of antivirus, and pay no consideration to an antispyware solution. I have on numerous occasions taken calls, or went to some one's house asking me to do something about their computer running so ridiculously slow. 9 times out of 10, their systems are riddled with spyware.

So what are you going to do about it? I'll be honest, I don't mind being paid $50 an hour to come over and clean up your computer, but let's face it, you can do it yourself for free.

Two of the best antispyware solutions on the Internet are free, and if used together with your antivirus program (By the way there are free versions of those too), you can keep your system relatively clean. Some of you already know the secrets I am about to reveal, and probably don't think they are secrets at all. For the rest, you have never heard of either of these, and to those people...You're welcome!

1) Spybot Search & Destroy: This little utility is absolutely free of charge, and if you read the license, is not only restricted to private use. It is donation ware, so if you feel obligated, please donate to their cause. It is really great and is updated regularly. You can also schedule it to autoupdate with certain command switches, and you can also schedule it to run at certain times. What's that smell? It smells like automation!

2) Adaware SE Personal: This utility by Lavasoft is only free for personal use, so that's right...You can't add it to the corporate Ghost image legally. According to Lavasoft, Adaware scans"...your RAM, Registry, hard drives, and external storage devices for known data-mining, advertising, and tracking components." Since it isn't the pro version, you can't easily automate Adaware. For automation, you have to buy their pro version.

As I mentioned above, it is best to install both programs together and run them both. One will catch what the other missed and vice versa. Complete the trinity with your antivirus, and keep your computer running at maximum efficiency.

Don't Forget your Bauer-Power Gear!

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