Protecting Yourself Against Spyware

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Internet expert, Rich Wiggins says, "Spyware is software that invades your computer, and in some cases examines what you're up to, and take the information and captures it, and sends it across to some other place where nasty folks may be looking at your information."

It worms its way in, and you may not even know it.

Wiggins: "You might visit one of those websites that has spyware accidentally, without your knowledge, get infected... and now you're at risk."

At any one time, millions and millions of computers are running with spyware.

So how do you know if your computer is infected with adware or spyware? “Constant pop-ups are one indication, your computer may be running a lot slower than normal, and some spyware will even hijack your homepage and change it without your permission."

Wiggins says it could be people doing it just for the fun of it, or it could be hackers or crackers anywhere around the world.

But he says the scariest form of spyware, are keystroke loggers, which watch as you type and capture the information.

This means passwords, pin numbers, and account information can all be seen.

Wiggins: "Even if you've got encryption turned on, still, your keystrokes could be captured."

Encryption should prevent any non-authorized party from reading or changing data, but as Wiggins said, with spyware that's not always the case.

But fortunately, just as easily as spyware invaded your computer, you can quickly remove it. You can download a free anti-spyware program or purchase one online.

Spybot and Ad-Aware are two of the most popular anti-spyware programs. But just running the programs once isn't enough. Wiggins says you should use more than one anti-spyware program and clean up your computer around once a week.

Here's the web addresses for Spybot-S&D, and Ad-Aware SE:

Ad-Aware SE: