Thursday, November 27, 2008

10 Tell Tale Signs Of Spyware And Adware Infection

10 Tell Tale Signs Of Spyware And Adware Infection

Though there are no warning signs to indicate that spyware or adware is being installed on your system, there are several tell tale signs to alert you of their presence, once they install. I have compiled here for your convinence 10 tell tale signs that can warn you of the presence of adware or spyware on your computer. Here they are.

1. Browser change:
Frequent, unauthorized changes in your browser landing page or homepage should be a warning sign that something is going on with your computer. Your home page is the first page that you come to when you log on to your internet account.Very often, this page is the home page of your Internet Service provider (ISP), except if you changed it. If you find your home page changing frequently to pages that you do not know, there is a good chance that your system is infected by spyware or adware.

2. Busy system or modem light:
A lighted system or modem indicator is a sign of on going activity. If you are not online using your computer, the modem indicator should not come alive. A flickering modem light when no one is online is a good indication that something is going on with your computer.

3. Influx of unwanted emails:
Everyone gets a certain amount of junk mail everyday. However, a sudden spike in the number of unwanted email to your computer should be a cause for investigation. There might be sypware working behind closed doors in your computer.

4. System slow down:
Have you noticed how your speed demon suddenly slowed down to a crawl like an old witch? If it is taking more time to launch your applications and even longer to load web pages, if your Windows xp or 2000 Task manager on launch indicates almost all available resource in use, you might be dealing with a case of spyware activity.

5. Unwanted redirects:
Spyware and adware have the ability to redirect your search to web sites or pages of the choosing of the program owners. If youend up at sites and webpages that you did not search for, there is a good chance that you are being redirected by the unseen hands of spyware and adware owners.

6. Intrussive banners:
Some spyware open up your browser for an avalanche of banner displays. Very often, these banners are hard to close. A lot of times, they are replaced as quickly as you close them. Sometimes the banners are so plenty, they overwhelm your system resources.

7. Unwanted pop-ups:
Pop-ups when properly used, are a good resource to have on the web. They are used by responsible marketers to direct you to additional resources. However, pop-ups can be abused by aggressive advertisers through the use of adware or spyware. Disregarding professional marketing and advertising ethics aggressive advertisers employ adware and spyware scripts to spam your browser with unwanted and sometimes illicit offers.

Another variation is the use of personalized pop-ups. When you begin to receive multiple pop ups with your name on them, that is an idication that someone is spying on you with spyware.

8. Unknow 900 numbers:
900 number are not very common. They usually carry a charge for access. Have you noticed a spike in your phone bill with charges to 900 numbers that you do not know? You might have been spied on a spyware program owner. It is believed that spyware and adware are responsible to a certain percentage of the identity theft crime that we see and hear about often today.

9. Foreign entries in your favorite folder:
If you all of a sudden begin to see foreign items in your favorite folder, be warned. There is a good chance that someone has caused those items to appear there. It is suggested that you check your favorite folder frequently and delete unfamiliar entries.

10. Additional browser toolbars:
The presence of a toolbar that you did not install on your system, may well be another tell tale sign of spyware presence.

The average Internet user does not ordinarily fool around with toolbars. Most people are satisfied with the Internet Explorer, Yahoo and may be Google toolbars. If a toolbar looks unfamiliar to you, it probably is and should be investigated and possibly removed.

Finally, there are times when it may seem all is well. Do not rest of your oars. A good rule of thumb for living on the internet is to do your due dilligence. Be proactive. Deploy some security systems and scan your computer frequently as some spywares and adwares
operate in stealth.

Your system is your investment. Protect it.

This article is brought to you by

By: Austin Akalanze

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Adware: Are Your Business's Computers Secure?

Adware: Are Your Business's Computers Secure?

Adware, software dedicated to displaying advertising, can really slow down any business that depends on computers. Adware promoters use some cunning tricks to get you to install their software on your machine. Here's what to look out for.

Adware is, by definition, something reasonable people don't want on their computers. That's why adware can't just come out and ask people to install it. Often, the computer owner is completely unaware of it being installed. But not always.

When adware doesn't want to sneak in through an open window, it will try to trick you into letting it in through the front door. Don't think you could be tricked? Don't be so sure until you've checked out these most common ways people have been tricked into allowing malware to be installed on their machines.

Adware Installation Trick 1: Piggybacking

How it works: malware may come bundled with a legitimate piece of software the user actually wants, such as a game or emoticon. The malware is merely labeled "companion software," without any indication of what it will do.

How to fight it: the fact that adware so often comes bundled with "entertainment" software, most notably the file-swapping program Kazaa, is a very good reason to separate business from personal when it comes to computing.

But adware can sometimes comes bundled with non-entertainment software, such as search tools or cracks of legitimate business software. Be very suspicious of any software that comes bundled with other software.

Don't installed software that comes bundled with other software unless you know everything that the bundled software does. After all, if the bundled program has anything to do with the program you actually want, why couldn't the software developer just get both programs' functionalities into a single piece of software?

Software developers are now very sensitive to malware concerns and will provide a lengthy explanation of just why the bundled software is necessary, in the cases when they actually do need to use bundled software.

Adware Installation Trick 2: Bait and Switch

How it works: since people are getting more and more suspicious of bundled software, the program's developers may simply label it as valuable software, for instance, a browser plugin that supposedly accelerates web browsing (but in reality only shows ads).

How to fight it: again, a suspicious mind is useful in avoiding malware. Ask yourself some questions:

* What will this software actually do? Adware and adware-bundled software often come with very fuzzy claims attached. Sure, it says it will improve your browsing experience, but how? Often, this improved browsing experience just means a browsing experience with more advertising.

* If the software is so great, why is it being given away free? Most commonly, software is only given out free in two cases: if it's OpenSource (designed by a community of developers and not proprietary–OpenSource software is always clearly labeled as such); or simply a come-on for a fuller-featured version of the software. If neither case is true, there's a real chance the software is financed by adware.

Adware Installation Trick 3: Outright Lying

How it works: adware may even be labeled as something else entirely, such as a well-known piece of software or a crucial component of the computer operating system.

How to fight it: this is the trickiest adware of all, and requires extreme caution. You don't want to start deleting any of your program files, much less your system registry entries, unless you're absolutely sure it's malware. Plenty of overzealous parasite hunters have shot their own machines to bits this way. This is one case where you want to be using an anti-spyware program, and preferably a second anti-spyware program to provide a second opinion.

Getting Rid of Adware

Adware is so tricky that trying to uninstall it by yourself could be like a trip into the Matrix. Luckily, there are good anti-spyware programs that tackle adware as well–after all many adware programs are also spyware since they monitor your internet usage.

True, it may feel like adding insult to injury to have to install more software to get rid of software you never meant to install in the first place. But keeping your computer free of adware is just one new cost of doing business.

By: Joel Walsh

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