Spyware and Adware


All Internet users should be aware of programs or files that can potentially cause problems for their computer. Spyware/Adware (referred to as Spyware for the rest of this document) is one such type of technology that can compromise your online experience if you are not aware of how to protect yourself and your computer.

What is Spyware?
Spyware is the name for any program that collects information on which web sites you visit on the Internet. If you are unaware that the information is being collected and distributed, the program is “spying”. Companies use Spyware so that they can adjust their ads to show services or merchandise similar to what you have shown interest in before. Also, interested companies can use the data as research information, as if you were participating in a survey you never signed up for.

Should I be concerned?
While it is good to be aware of the effects that Spyware can have on your computer, it is a personal choice whether or not to take action. Some people are very concerned about protecting their privacy on the Internet. Others may only view Spyware as a nuisance. Whether this is viewed as an invasion of privacy or not, the programs can alter your system’s files and cause you some headaches while browsing. Because of this, most people noticing the effects of Spyware want to take action against these programs.

How can I tell if there is Spyware on my computer?
If you see any new or different toolbars on your Internet Explorer program, you could have some form of Spyware on your computer. This is also likely if your homepage has changed unexpectedly, or you are getting a lot of pop-up windows. Spyware can install itself without your consent.

How did this software get on my computer?
Not all Spyware comes in without your permission. One way you may have agreed to install it unknowingly is through accepting the terms of a license agreement. Spyware can be legitimate if you have given your permission to have the data collected from your computer. This information could be hidden in the privacy statement that you agree to when downloading or installing a new program. If you read the fine print, you could find that you are being asked if it is all right to install hidden programs or to give certain individuals or vendors access to your computer. If you allow it, this is a legal agreement to have Spyware on your computer.

Programs that spy on your browsing without your permission can sneak in when you click on certain banners or pop-ups. Be careful when clicking on banner ads while browsing; these can invite illegitimate advertisers to collect data from you.

How do I protect myself?
Certain settings can help keep Spyware programs from leaving cookies on your computer. There are browsing options you can set to allow, deny, or restrict cookies. However, blocking cookies is usually not recommended, as it will allow you to only view sites that do not use cookies. Since blocking cookies causes such restrictions, a better way to protect your computer from Spyware is to download a program to try and block the cookies that you don't want, and still allow the ones you need. Read all the information offered to make sure you are downloading a legitimate program. The following link gives examples of programs that are available to download that block Spyware:

Please note: This software is not manufactured, nor is any guarantee on its functionality made, by WTC Communications. If you experience problems with these programs, please contact the manufacturer of the software directly.

If a Spyware blocker you have downloaded doesn’t work for you, make sure to uninstall it completely before trying to download another one to try. If you don’t, the program can identify a competing program and cause certain files to become inactive.

If you know what’s causing your browsing problems then you know what to try and take action against. With a knowledgeable approach to blocking Spyware, your browsing experience can be an enjoyable one.


Extra Links:

Please note: This software is not manufactured, nor is any guarantee on its functionality made, by WTC Communications. If you experience problems with these programs, please contact the manufacturer of the software directly.