Online Spyware Scan: Exercise Caution

In this is age of technology, fraud and other cyber crimes are steadily on the rise. For this reason, anti-spam, virus and malware solutions have become a must for any user making a connection to the internet.  One of the biggest threats on the web is spyware, a factor that has made spyware scanners equally important. 

More on Spyware

Spyware is a program that is distributed through the internet and typically downloaded without a user's knowledge.  Once installed, it collects URLs of the sites a user visits and obtains data of those pages along with other information indicating the user's online interest.  This data is often used to launch mass spam mailings and targeted advertisements.  Spyware latches onto a user's internet connection to collect and send data, consuming various resources and often faltering computer performance.  The most intrusive part of all is that this activity usually occurs without your consent. 

More dangerous types of spyware function by collecting the email contacts from your computer and may also make alterations to your web browser.  Keystroke loggers, another form of spyware, are designed to thieve usernames, passwords, bank account numbers and credit card details.  This information can then be used to carry out fraudulent crimes capable of inflicting severe damage such as identity theft.  Once a computer is infected, an advanced spyware application has the ability to conduct this activity even over secured connections. 

Spyware Scanners

Spyware scanners are the feature components of various anti-spyware programs.  Many of them are now available online as a helpful utility as opposed to a complete software application.  While they have proven to be useful tools, online spyware scans have received a fair share of criticism.  Some argue that these components wrongfully identify certain programs as spyware and may omit others, a factor that can be contributed to evolution of malicious coders.                                      

There has also been concerns regarding the legitimacy of online spyware scanners.  Several individuals have taken advantage of the public's fear and ambition to keep their system free of infection.  Many individuals have been victimized by using what they believed to be an online spyware scanner, but instead was a malicious component that downloaded infections to their computer.   

Another concern about online spyware scans is their limited capability.  For instance, a particular utility may scan your system and detect infections but require a fee to fully remove them.  This is typically the case with a company offering a free spyware scan.

Regardless of the criticism, online spyware scanners have proven to be rather effective at both detecting and removing spyware.  Before using one of these utilities online or downloading it on your computer, it is recommended that you carefully research the website hosting the service.  Take note of any negative reviews or signs indicating the program is associated with malicious software that will install other harmful items on your computer. 

To ensure the best protection against spyware, you may want to look into an all-in-one security suite that eliminates all types of malware or a reliable program that is specifically designed to remove spyware. 

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Spyware has many ways of getting onto your computer, such as:

When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser