Choosing an Adware or Spyware Detector

By: Sandra Stammberger

The internet is one of the most essential tools in today’s life. People have been depending on computers and the internet to do business, research, or keep in touch with family and friends for years.

Because of the ease of communication and accessibility provided by the internet, people have been advertising various kinds of products on the internet. It certainly made lives and doing business easier.

However, some people are using this technology in a bad way for their own personal gains. These people, called hackers, steal money from people and businesses by developing and distributing programs called adware and spyware through the internet.

Adware are similar to pop-up advertising. The difference is, it does not stop popping up on our computer screen no matter how many times you close it. These kinds of software are very annoying and can slow down the performance of your computer drastically by using up high amounts of memory.

In addition, anti-virus programs such as McAfee or Norton, even the most updated ones, cannot detect most of this software. This is because programming adware is different from virus programming.

An adware is usually integrated into a program. Once you download and install a program integrated with adware software, it automatically changes your internet browser’s programming. Often it adds a programming code in your browser to instruct it to automatically activate a pop-up ad or go to a certain website.

This can be very frustrating for anyone who is using the internet because they are likely to waste much of his or her time by just closing pop-up ads or reentering the websites, they are visiting. Adwares literally forces you to buy a certain product for it to stop popping up on your screen.

Another concern is spyware. This software is usually integrated in adware, and can be very dangerous. It works like an unwanted guest in your house installing surveillance equipment without you knowing it.

It is a fact that businesses that use the internet have lost thousands of dollars because of spyware. It steals company business secrets, credit card numbers, email addresses, documents etc.

When a spyware is installed on a computer, it records all the websites visited by the user, every click of the mouse, and every key pressed on the keyboard then sends the information to the software developer.

Another type of spyware software allows the software developer to remotely access someone’s computer without the owner of the computer knowing about it. In this kind of spyware, the hacker can literally access documents from the infected computer and can copy it to his or her own computer.

Adware and spyware detector programs can be downloaded free over the internet. However, some spyware detectors usually offer limited services. Once you download the spyware detector program, it often allows you to use its services for a certain time, and then expires. The program limits its service to just detecting spywares but not to remove it and often prompts that if you want to continue to use the program, you will have to purchase it for a certain fee.

Here are some of the best spyware detectors available:

Spy Sweeper
Aluria Anti-Spyware
Trend Micro Anti-Spyware
Spyware Doctor
Ad-Aware SE/Pro
Spyware Be Gone
McAfee Anti-Spyware

When choosing spyware detector software, consider the following:

Feature Set – Choose software that offers all or most of the following features:

• Have a wide range of spyware search.
• Rollback or restore capabilities.
• Indicates Spyware Severity
• Descriptions of detected spywares
• Scan Scheduling
• Auto Updates
• Tracking Cookie Blocking
• Real-time blocking and protection
• Scans removable media, like floppy disks, CD’s and other removable storage devices.

Detection and Deletion Capabilities – A good anti-spyware software can detect and delete all or most adware and spyware.

Availability of Technical Support – If you’re a new user and don’t know anything about spyware and adware you should have easy access to the company that sold you the program by technical support services, such as; toll-free phone, built-in application help, and email support.

Supported Configurations – It is important that the anti-spyware software you buy should be compatible with the operating system version (Windows XP, 98, 2000, ME, NT) of your computer.

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S. Stammberger is the editor of Instant Adware Remover. Learn everything about adware and spyware and find out how to protect your computer.

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