All your base are belong to us
By Red Squirrel
There are utilities out there that can help remove spyware. The most popular ones are Ad Aware and Spybot which work similar to a virus scanner, where you have to update the definitions. These are used mostly for after you have been affected, unlike a virus scanner that would stop a virus before. Spybot does have an option to immunize the system, which attempts to secure the system from about 1000 known items which is very good. It is good to run both Adaware and Spybot, and any other utilities you find work well, as they don't always cover all spyware.
Another way to get rid of spyware, mostly only used for new undetected spyware, is manually going through the PC, checking add/remove (yes, some are actually nice enough to provide an uninstaller!) the startup folder/msconfig etc.. for unknown entries, and also searching the registry. This is something only a computer technician / computer savvy should do, as it is advanced enough and can mess things up if you don't know what you're doing.
How to avoid spyware
Very similar measures for avoiding viruses can be taken for spyware also such as the following.
Be careful what you download. If you don't trust the source, do some research on the program to see if it contains spyware. For example, if you are not sure if Gator has spyware, just type gator spyware in a search engine and you should get an answer and more information on what spyware in included. (and also an article talking about Gator suing companies for articles such as this one.:P)
Stay up to date with patches, or use a secure browser, and a router. This applies more to viruses, but nothing stops it from being possible for spyware today or in the future to use these same security holes to install itself in PCs.
Avoiding spyware is easier if you are knowledgeable in computers and can judge a program just by looking at the download page, and overall staying alert, but it may be harder for new users. So the best bet is to install Ad Aware and Spybot to regularly scan the system. In fact, to learn more, you can scan each time you install something new, and that way you will be able to tell what programs have spyware, and which ones don't.
I use Ad Aware and Spybot here and there to be more sure that I have no spyware and as a PC repair business owner these tools are a must use as finding 600+ spyware items on a customer's PCs is normal, and these spyware tools do a good job at cleaning them.
So all in all, stay alert, stay safe, and don't let the spyware bite! See you later Gator.
IceTeks Administrator / Owner
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