What is adware and spyware?
Have you ever clicked on a link or advert while browsing the internet only to then find a barrage of pop-up windows and then your PC getting slower and slower. This is most often caused by spyware or adware, these unwanted programmes find their way on to your computer, running sneakily in the background and they work by collecting information about you or bombarding you with adverts.
These programme are not just annoying, they can pose a very real security threat to you and impact on the health and performance of your PC. They can cause your PC to grind to a halt as they consume a lot of processing power in addition to directly or indirectly leading to viruses.
When it comes to any unwanted adware and spyware on your PC, undoubtedly prevention is better than cure. Prevention in this case means following our guidance below:
4 ways to avoid unwanted adware and spyware
- Be Selective – ensure you really need a programme before downloading it. Have you ever heard of the software or manufacturer? Is it legit? If you are not sure that it can be trusted then do your research before installing anything on your PC.
- Scam Alert – follow the old adage ‘if it seems too good to be true that’s because it probably is’. Never be fooled to click on ‘free’ offers of programmes or tools that are usually paid for. These will almost inevitably leave you with adware, spyware and/or virus infections.
- Be Ad Aware – always avoid clicking on clickable ads whether they are in emails or if you see them while browsing the internet.
- No toolbars – never download and use toolbars, they are basically all adware in one form or another.
What to do if you think you have been infected
Get in touch with your IT provider as they will be able to recommend how to best remove any nasties from your desktop or laptop.
How to protect yourself
There are a big range on Antivirus products on the market, some free and some paid for, so how to choose? Free Antivirus products give a basic protection, the biggest downside is that they are generally slower with newest updates and new malware is constantly being developed at an alarming rate so you really need a product that keeps up with this.
Best take advice from an IT pro as different products are suited to different users and depend on whether you are a business or home user, on what operating system you use and how heavy a web user you are.
Remember that no antivirus product is ever 100%, you also need to take responsibility as a user and take care in terms of what you click on and download.