Twisted List: Top Five Ways to Detect Spyware
Learn how to download free software without giving up your privacy.
By Megan Morrone
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SpywareSpyware is nasty. Spyware (also called "adware") is usually free software that comes bundled with little bits of code that sneak into your system to collect information about you and pass it on to another source without your knowledge or permission. Click here for a more detailed explanation.
Top five ways you can protect yourself from software spies
5. Spy Chaser
Spy Chaser is simply a database of known spyware. Before you download anything, type the name of the program in the window on top. If it is spyware, the program will show up in the right hand box. You also can scroll through the box on the left to see if you can find the program you are considering downloading there.
Spychecker is similar to Spy Chaser, but it has a larger database, which it claims to update daily. I also find this program a bit easier to use. With a click of the mouse, you can check to see if software is spyware, or report your experiences with invasive free software. If you don't want to download the program, simply bookmark the Spychecker website, and enter your query there.
If you're concerned about your online privacy, bookmark this resource right now. The SpywareInfo website will keep you updated on the latest news about suspicious software as well as government surveillance. You'll also get links to the newest downloads and software updates to help you get rid of any bad stuff already on your PC.
If the program you are considering downloading shows up in a spyware database but you still really want it, you can use a program like Silencer that disables communication between your PC and the company collecting information. Note: If you use this program, you may be violating your EULA (end-user license agreement).
I have yet to find a program that is more effective than Ad-aware at checking and removing spyware from your system. Ad-aware scans your memory, registry, and hard drive for invasive software and lets you easily remove offenders. You will be able to continue to use some programs after removing the spyware, but other programs will cease to work.
Let us know about any other good spyware catchers in the Talkback section below.
Posted January 29, 2002
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Talkback Post your comment here >
· I think Ad-ware is a good progr... - Michael
· Keeping out the spyware can hel... - Professor Tracy
· Hi All! I've been using an a... - Randseed Bin
· Muah ah ah!! My friend Mike run... - Kim McBride
· I have one really good tool to ... - David Terry
· Ad-aware is the best on of all ... - Eric A.
· Ad-aware rocks! This is the be... - Sharon Haas
· I had trouble with Ad-Aware whe... - Jeff Piepenburg
· SpyBlocker is an excellent soft... - Ken Drogorub
· I have found Spycop to be effec... - Robert Mack
· Need more "Top 5" lists? How a... - John Hill
· I used Ad-aware and it totaly m... - Kris Mattfeld
· I have and use both Ad-Aware a... - Bill Roark
· I have been using Ad-Aware Plus... - Dudley Johnson