Tips for Consumers: Spyware Scammers

Tips for Consumers
Spyware Scammers

Spyware is a major problem infecting personal computers in the Hagerstown area and throughout the world. Some experts believe that it is now a more serious problem than Internet viruses.

Spyware is hidden software that sends information about your Web surfing habits to its unknown origination. This software is often quickly installed in your computer in combination with a free download from the Web or even by just visiting a site. Spyware transmits information in the background as you move around the Web. It can enable a remote computer to redirect you to Web sites you don't want to visit, monitor your computer usage, and even record your keystrokes--including your passwords and bank account numbers.
* Is your computer infected with spyware? Here are some signs:
* You are subject to endless pop-up windows.
* You are redirected to web sites other than the one you typed into your browser.
* New toolbars or icons appear in your web browser or task tray.
* Your browser's home page or search engine suddenly changed.
* Your computer suddenly seems very slow when opening programs or processing tasks (saving files, etc.)

How can you avoid spyware?
* Don't click on links within pop-up windows. To close the pop-up, click on the "X" icon instead of a "close" link within the window.
* Choose "no" when asked unexpected questions. Be wary of unexpected dialog boxes asking whether you want to run a particular program or task. Always select "no" or "cancel," or close the dialog box by clicking the title bar "X" icon.
* Don't download programs from sites you don't trust.
* Don't follow email spam links offering anti-spyware software. They may actually install it.
* As an additional good security practice, adjust your browser preferences and privacy settings to limit pop-up windows and cookies.

How do you remove spyware?
Run a full scan with your anti-virus software. Keep it updated.
Run a legitimate product designed to remove spyware. Ask knowledgeable friends or a software retailer for suggestions. Most programs are quite inexpensive but can work wonders deleting spyware. Take these important steps to protect your computer.

To file a complaint visit: www.baltimore.bbb.org or write: BBB, 1414 Key Highway, #100, Baltimore MD 21230. Their office serves Baltimore and all of Greater Maryland.