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2 Jul 2007

Exotic Goods and Novelties Emporium - Anti-Spyware Programs

Exotic Goods and Novelties Emporium - Anti-Spyware Programs

f you are a regular Internet user, then you've probably come
across the term ""spyware"". This is a pretty good description of
what these programs are. Spyware is a program that exists within
your computer system to carry out tasks like displaying unwanted
ads, recording your keystrokes, and even monitoring how much you
use your computer.

These programs enter your computer system without you even
knowing it (just like real spies). They may slip past you when
you’re downloading music, or they may even be disguised as
programs that you thought were harmless. That’s how tricky the
creators of these programs are.

So what exactly does this mean for you? The implications of
this range from the annoying, to the down-right maddening. On
the one hand, some spyware programs simply generate pop-up ads
while you are browsing. Others can change your browser's

The other, more disturbing, part of this, is that some spyware
takes note of what your computer habits are, what sites you
visit, and even (and this is the scariest part) can record your
user name, passwords, and credit card information. This
information is then sent back to the person spying on you.
There is no telling, really, what he or she will then do with
that information.

Fortunately, there are programmers who have worked on solutions
addressing spyware. These solutions comes in the form of
anti-spyware programs. Anti-spyware programs are designed to
recognize the spyware that live in your computer. These
anti-spyware programs are like dogs trained to sniff out the
spies and alert you of their presence.

So just how does anti-spyware work? How is it able to detect
programs that are designed not to be found?

Spyware, just like other programs, has a code that
differentiates it from other programs. That code is called a
signature. The signature is as unique to that program as a
fingerprint. Each anti-spyware program contains a vast database
of these signatures.

When the anti-spyware scans your computer for spyware, it
compares all of the files in your system to signatures in its
database. If it finds a match between a signature in the
database and a file in your computer, it raises an alarm. It
then gives you the option to remove that file or to quarantine
in order to later report it.

You might be wondering, ""why would I want to quarantine spyware
and report it? Wouldn't it be better to just delete it?""

Not exactly.

The programmers of spyware know that anti-spyware programs will
get rid of their creations. In order to keep on advertising on
your computer or stealing information, they create new spyware
that has signatures that haven't yet been recorded in
anti-spyware databases.

This is why you can put a file suspected of being spyware in
quarantine, and why reporting it to anti-spyware creators is so
important. The programmers are alerted of this suspicious file
and they examine it to see if it is really spyware. If they
determine that it is, they’ll update their anti-spyware
signature database to include the program to recognize the new

So if you're a regular Internet user, it is a good idea that
you install anti-spyware programs. It is a good idea to have at
least two anti-spyware installed, as one program working alone
may not have a database as extensive as two. That way, you have
a much finer net with which to screen for spyware that enters
your system.

Getting more than one anti-spyware program will not cost you
very much. It may, in fact, cost you nothing at all! Several
reputable anti-spyware programs are available for free.
(Ad-Aware, and Spybot: Search and Destroy are the most
popular). Their creators of anti-spyware do so for reasons
ranging from building a good reputation, to allowing you to
sample their product.

Installing anti-spyware in your system should not be the end of
your spyware campaign. Regularly check your anti-spyware
program's website in order to look for updates, so that you can
continue to detect new spyware.

Securing your data is as important as securing your actual
homes, these days. Arm yourself with good anti-spyware and you
will be a step closer to breathing easier when you go online.
About The Author: Linda Davis writes for several web sites,
such as http://yetra.com and http://tocip.com

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