How Much Spyware Protection do you need?

4 09 2004

How much Spyware protection do you need?

Ask Decatur Computer Help



Alan Thornton

Hi Friends,

Spyware is one of the most common problems that folks end up needing help with when they call me to fix their computing problems. Originally, it was a minor annoyance. Lately, though, it is causing more and more damage to computers including slowing them down, blocking them from internet activity and even keeping them from booting up at all. Some people have begun to call this sort of program malware. Spyware is a danger for all internet capable systems. There are lots of programs to remove it and the best ones are starting to use an ounce of prevention.

Ad-Aware SE, Spybot-Search and Destroy and SpywareBlaster are the three free programs that I use most often, usually in combination, to prevent and/or remove spyware. Why three? Well, each of the first two seems to find some items that the other misses. The third provides a different kind of solution to the spyware problem.

Ad-Aware and Spybot come from the removal world. Spybot was the first program that I knew of to ‘inoculate’ a system against known problems. Ad-Aware has a similar function but in the free version.

SpywareBlaster is a preventative tool. It doesn’t scan your system for problems but prevents you from getting spyware in the first place. SpywareBlaster even contains a list of sites that your computer should never visit and allows you to keep your browser from going to them. It is easy to configure and supports IE and Mozilla’s Firefox which is my preferred browser.

Run these products regularly after running the update functions and you will help your system to keep itself free of spyware problems.

You can check here for a more comprehensive list of spyware prevention and removal tools. Be aware, though, that some of these programs may cause computer problems of their own by making aggressive system changes. The removal tools recommended above have methods of undoing changes that cause unexpected results.

I invite readers to contact me with computer or networking questions for possible inclusion in this column.

Alan Thornton owns Decatur Computer Help, (www.decaturcomputerhelp.com) an on-site technical support business in DeKalb County. Write him at: alan@decaturcomputerhelp.com or phone (404) 932-4348.

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