Protecting against spyware
What is spyware?
Spyware is a general name for spying programs that try to obtain information about you or your computer. These programs can be downloaded onto your computer without your knowledge whilst you are connected to the internet. Some spyware programs monitor your surfing activites and are used by advertising companies to try to find out what sort of products you would buy so they can target you with pop-up adverts and spam emails. Other spyware may be used to steal your passwords and bank details.
How can I remove spyware?
You can use a spyware removal program to search for and destroy spyware. Some spyware removal programs are included with internet security packages that you can buy, or alternatively you can download a free program such as Ad-Aware. This will search for and remove spyware both on your hard disk and in your computer memory:
Like anti-virus programs, spyware removal programs will need to be run and updated frequently to ensure that your computer is secure. Unlike anti-virus software, you can use more than one spyware removal program on your computer. Microsoft are developing a spyware blocking and removal program, which should be available as a free download when the final version is released. Panda's free online scanner is now able to detect (though not remove) spyware, as well as viruses:
Ad-Aware is known to be reliable and effective, and is probably the best option for most users at present.