Computer Security - Spyware/Adware

Spyware and adware are very similar. Both gather data about the computer users. Adware primarily watches your online activity and habits in order to send you ads and spyware watches all of your computing activities. Frequently adware is installed as part of shareware or other software installed by the user. Spyware is usually installed covertly, sometimes as a part of adware or other software and sometimes as a result of am email.

A recent nasty trick is to create fake or rogue anti-spyware program. These programs are aggressively marketed on the internet, usually through "affiliate" sites. These programs are often given names similar to legitimate products and web sites such as: WinAntiVirus Pro 2009, VirusRemover2009, Antivirus2009, System Antivirus 2008, Ultimate Antivirus 2008, Vista Antivirus 2008, XP Antivirus 2008 etc. Many of these programs either don't work at all, work poorly or actually install spyware on your system. To avoid these, stay with the reputable spyware programs such as Ad-Aware, Spybot Search & Destroy and others. Links to Ad-Aware & Spybot follow below. As this web page is updated, we will continue to explore this topic further.

Some tips to help stop spyware:
Use an alternative to Internet Explorer, such as Firefox, Opera or Google Chrome.
Install a firewall and make sure it is configured to prevent outgoing activity.
Use a combination of anti-spyware programs. Unlike antivirus software, most anti-spyware programs don't "fight" with each other. Also, no one anti-spyware program seems to catch all spyware.
Keep all of your security programs up to date, including anti-virus, spyware, and browser. This includes your operating system.

Spybot Search & Destroy
(Lavasoft) Ad-Aware
Spyware Guide Web Page
Spyware Online Scan
Firefox (web browser)
Google Chrome (web browser)
Opera (web browser)