The most frustrating part of having Spyware on your computer is sheer feeling of helplessness that is invoked. Your computer slows down, it no longer does what you instructed it to, it seems to have a mind of its own. You effectively have lost control of your computer. Spyware (also referred to as Adware or Malware) is software that is installed on your computer without your consent. Spyware software monitors or controls your computer use. It may be used to send you pop-up ads, redirect your computer to websites, monitor your Internet surfing, or record your keystrokes, which, in turn, could lead to identity theft.
Here are some of symptoms that indicate Spyware is on a computer:
•a barrage of pop-up ads
•a hijacked browser — that is, a browser that takes you to sites other than those you type into address box
•a sudden or repeated change in your computer’s Internet home page
•new and unexpected toolbars •new and unexpected icons on system tray at bottom of your computer screen
•keys that don’t work (for example, “Tab” key that might not work when you try to move to next field in a Web form)
•random error messages
•sluggish or downright slow performance when opening programs or saving files
Follow these precautions in order to help prevent Spyware installation:
•Update your operating system and Web browser software. Your operating system (like Windows or Linux) may offer free software “patches” to close holes in system that Spyware could exploit.