Spyware and Adware

  • This web page provides tips for mitigating technology-related risks while getting the most out of your computing environment by addressing the risks associating with downloading programs and other “freebies” over the Internet. 

    Learn about Spyware/Adware! 

    There is a growing threat with a new category of software that is installed on your PC without you even realizing it. Spyware, also know as adware, is a type of software that is installed on your computer (either knowingly or unknowingly) when your simply access a malicious website or install certain “free” applications (i.e., torrent apps, web search toolbar, etc.).

    The spyware can generate pop-up ads on your PC, take you to unintended websites, or even monitor activity on your PC such as the web sites that you visit and the key strokes that you type.

    The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team provides an excellent overview of spyware. Please take the time to review this brief article on Recognizing and Avoiding Spyware.

    Combat Spyware and Adware on your PC

    Here are some steps that you can take to avoid and combat spyware/adware:

    • Avoid installing “free” web search toolbars and other Internet-based applications (Kazaa, Gator, etc.).
    • Reboot and log on to your PC daily to make sure that you have the most current security patches and virus signature updates.
    • Be alert for unusual behavior on your PC—unexpected toolbars that get added to your web browser, excessive pop-up ads, unusual search results, web browser activity that takes you to unintended pages, very sluggish response, etc.
    • Any time that you are concerned about unusual behavior with your PC, use a spyware/adware detection tool such as SpyBot or Adaware.
    • When spyware is suspected, a virus scan is also recommended.