Combat Computer Spyware! An AntiSpyware Program Isnít EnoughWritten by Jim Shutes
Combat Computer Spyware! An AntiSpyware Program Isnít Enough
By Jim Shutes LapeerTechGroup.com
Spyware has become an epidemic on Internet. A lot of computer users have Spyware and donít even know they have it, much less how to get rid of it. If your computer has been taking you to websites that you donít want to go to, or if you get pop-ups when you arenít even on Internet, or if your computer has been running extremely slowly lately, for no reason, you probably have Spyware.
So what, exactly, is Spyware? Spyware is a wide range of benign to malicious programs that get unknowingly downloaded and/or installed on your computer and perform various tasks. They are similar to viruses, but antivirus software doesnít detect these little bugs. Spyware can be in many forms, from basic information-gathering applets to intelligent, self-protecting and controlling programs.
Primarily, intent of Spyware is to collect information about your Internet-browsing habits and report that information back to home base, where it is sold for advertising purposes. In doing so, some of your Internet connection bandwidth is taken up in constantly sending this information. And if you only have a dial-up connection, I have seen entire dial-up connection used just for this purpose, leaving nothing for paying customer with which to surf.
Still, other types of Spyware actually take over your Internet-browsing experience and force you to go to websites that advertise for makers of Spyware (or their customers), and no matter how many times you close windows, they keep coming back. They are like pop-ups that wonít go away. And a lot of times, these windows can appear even before getting on Internet. This should be illegal!
So what can be done about Spyware? Well, if it is caught in time, a user can install AntiSpyware software to get rid of Spyware. And as a preventative measure, AntiSpyware software should be installed BEFORE getting Spyware and computer should be scanned on a regular basis for Spyware.
On all of computers that I setup, I install two different AntiSpyware programs: AdAware SE and SpyBot. These two programs are highly recommended by TechTV (G4) and other computer authorities (including my own research on Spyware) and work very well together. They compliment each other and catch Spyware that other misses, but together, do a very good job.
SpyBot is not only a good program for getting rid of Spyware, but also as a preventative Spyware-catcher. It sits there and looks for known Spyware coming into your system, as well as suspicious-looking content. If you use Tea-Timer feature, it can be a little annoying, but ANY suspicious-looking program, trying to be installed on your system, is flagged and your permission is asked for it to be installed (now and always). If you donít have this program installed on your computer, get it NOW by downloading HERE... http://www.lapeertechgroup.com/downloads.asp Download all updates and run Immunize option a couple of times (for preventative purposes). Scan with it every day if you can.
AdAware SE has a little better Spyware database in it, but is not setup as a preventative AntiSpyware program. It does do a good job when you keep up on updates and manually scan your system with AdAware. If you donít have this program on your computer, get it NOW by downloading HERE... http://www.lapeertechgroup.com/downloads.asp Download all updates and run Smart Scan daily (if not, at least weekly).
If, after downloading and installing, updating, and running both of these AntiSpyware program, you still canít get rid of your Spyware, you may need to enlist services of a professional. Some Spyware is so intelligent that it looks to see if AntiSpyware programs delete Spyware part of its programming and, if itís gone, reinserts it back in place. This can be very frustrating for user (and in some cases, even for professional). There are stronger measures that can be taken to get rid of Spyware, in cases like this, but can be very devastating to userís computer, if not handled perfectly. At this point, leave it to professional. Call a local computer repair company and have them come out to your home or business and get rid of Spyware for you.
In some cases, when Spyware has become too entwined into your system, even a computer repair technician canít get rid of Spyware. At this point, it is better to just backup only what you need and have operating system reinstalled. Believe me, when your computer gets to this point, you donít want to just put a ďband-aidĒ on it. Just start from scratch with a clean system. Itís best way to go.
Since Spyware is similar to viruses, a few Spyware can be caught by a good AntiVirus program. Some Spyware are actually Trojan Horses (hackerís worms) that get onto your computers and allow hackers to get into your computer (without you knowing it) and doing malicious-type things to it. They can take over your computer, erase your hard drive, use your computer as a server, give you a bunch of illegal music or programs and tell all of their friends to download it all from you Ė leaving you holding bag and supplying computer space and bandwidth for their hobby. So, protect yourself with a good AntiVirus program. One of my favorites is AVG. It is not only a really good AntiVirus program, but it is also FREE! If you donít have any AntiVirus software on your computer, get AVG AntiVirus NOW by downloading HERE... http://www.lapeertechgroup.com/downloads.asp If you already have an AntiVirus program, and you want to use AVG instead, do NOT install AVG. First, uninstall your current AntiVirus program, reboot and install AVG. You do NOT want to have two AntiVirus programs installed at same time. They will work against each other and can cause problems.
So can a person avoid getting Spyware? Not entirely, but if you know where not to go, you can definitely slow it down. You can get Spyware from ANYwhere! However, most of Spyware comes as a trade-off for FREE stuff. If you read license agreement (which no one does) of most FREE stuff, you will be amazed that, in most cases, you are giving them permission to give you Spyware (but not in those words). Read all license agreements before installing anything (I know, I couldnít even say that with a straight face). It will save you a lot of grief. If you are like me, and you donít read all of legal stuff whenever installing anything, here are some rules of thumb to help avoid bulk of Spyware.
ēBe suspicious of FREE Stuff Ė NOTHING is FREE. If it is FREE, then you are giving away something. Read and find out what it is that you are giving away. Chances are, you are installing Spyware with FREE game, music, or program.
10 Easy Steps to Speed Up Your Computer - Without UpgradingWritten by Jim Shutes
10 Easy Steps to Speed Up Your Computer - Without Upgrading
By Jim Shutes Lapeer Tech Group
It seems that longer you own your computer, slower it gets! A lot of people will keep their computer until it gets so slow that they feel they need a newer, faster model. Some feel like reason it is getting slower is because it is getting older, when that is just not case. Your computer should run just as fast as day you brought it home Ė if you follow these 10 Easy Steps to Speed Up Your Computer.
1. Empty Temp directory regularly. After a short while, temp directory fills up with hundreds of temp files that always get scanned over when Windows starts up and when programs launch. This slows everything down immensely.
Rule of thumb for Temp Files: If you donít have any programs open (and nothing minimized in bar below), then you shouldnít have ANY temp files in your temp directory. If you do, delete them.
To delete Temp files, make sure NO programs are open, andÖ
a. In Windows 95, 98 or Me, go to C:WindowsTemp and delete everything inside Temp folder.
b. In Windows 2000 or XP, it is a little trickier. First, make sure that you can see hidden folders. Double-click My Computer. Click on Tools pull-down menu, and then on Folder Options. Click on View tab. Scroll down and click on Show Hidden Files and Folders. Click Ok. Now you can go to C:Documents and SettingsAdministratorLocal SettingsTemp folder. Delete everything here.
2. Empty Temporary Internet Files regularly. To empty Temporary Internet Files, go to your Control Panel and double-click Internet Options icon. Choose to Delete Cookies, and to Delete Files. This will clear all of your Temporary Internet Files.
3. Check your hard disks for problems.
a. For Windows 95, 98, or Me, double-click My Computer. Right-click C-drive and click on Properties. Click on Tools tab and choose to check computer for problems. If you choose to do a Thorough Scan, this will do hardware check for physical disk damage or sector damage. Choose to fix any errors it finds.
b. For Windows 2000 and XP, double-click My Computer. Right-click C-drive and click Properties. Click on Tools tab and choose to check computer for problems. Click on Check Now. You will then have two check boxes. The top option is for file check, and second option is for hardware (physical disk) check. Check either one, or both. At least check top one. Hit ok, and reboot. This may take some time, but let it run.
4. An even more thorough disk check, would be to use a 3rd party utility. One of my favorites is TuneUp Utilities 2004. It does cost $39.99, but they do offer a FREE download trial of 15 days. This program does a really good job of fixing software and physical hard drive problems. It also tunes up your system for increased speed, and streamlines your operating system for peak performance. Download it HERE... http://www.lapeertechgroup.com/downloads.asp
5. Or, you can do a few of performance tweaks yourself, if you have Windows XP. By default, EVERYTHING is turned on in Windows XP. It isnít very streamlined for performance, but rather for appearance. You can turn off a few of unnecessary features, and Windows will still work just fine, and maybe a little faster.
To do this, right-click on My Computer and click on Properties. Click on Advanced tab. Under Performance section, click on Settings button. On Visual Effects tab, you will see a list of check boxes. By default, these are all on. You really donít need any of them for Windows to run. Go through check boxes one by one, and determine which ones you can and canít live without.
6. Turn off Active Desktop. Active Desktop turns your desktop into a web page, and allows you to have things like a real-time calendar, and up-to-the-minute weather or stocks. These are nice, but really slow down your computer. And even if you donít use Active Desktop for anything, just having it active can cause a performance decrease. Turn it off.
a. In Windows 95, 98 and Me, right-click on desktop and in pop-up menu, choose Active Desktop. Inside that option, uncheck Active Desktop. If there is no check next to it, then it isnít on. Donít choose it. Instead, just click desktop again to get out of menu.
b. In Windows 2000, right-click on desktop and in pop-up menu, choose Active Desktop. Inside that option, uncheck Show Web Content. Again, if there is no check next to it, then it is not on. Do not check it.
c. In Windows XP, right-click on desktop and in pop-up menu, choose Properties. On Desktop tab, choose Customize Desktop. Now, on Web tab, make sure that there are no websites chosen here. If there arenít any, then Active Desktop is not on. Cancel and go back to desktop.