Spyware is more than just annoying – it can cause other programs to not work properly and can cause your computer to become unusable. It is commonly installed without your knowledge and in many cases can’t be removed from your computer without specialized software.

The first line of defense is to know about and trust the provider of the software you’re installing. It is best if possible to download directly from the manufacturer’s website. A large percentage of freeware or shareware programs have spyware embedded in them.

Here are some of the telltale symptoms of spyware: You may see pop-up advertisements even when you aren’t browsing the web. Your homepage may have been changed without your knowledge. If you do get infected with spyware, there are ways to get rid of it. A number of companies make software designed to remove it.

Once the spyware has been removed from your system, you should run scans on a regular basis to keep it clean. And, of course, beware those tempting looking free offers. You may get more than you bargained for.

Computer Guy L.A.

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