Have You Invited A Spy Into Your Computer?

Yes, it's true. You may have inadvertently invited a spy into your computer. This spy is known as "spyware, adware, or trojans", and once it is in your computer it starts taking statistical information as you travel the Internet. In some cases, it may send you pop-up ads and slow down your computer. A wired.com article, mentions it "could even collect your credit card information".

How did you invite the spy?

Maybe you visited a website you knew and enjoyed only to find that it was recently purchased by a pornography site. The new company has imbedded "spyware" into the home page and now, in many cases without your knowledge, it is on your computer.

Maybe you downloaded a free or paid program and as part of the package you were provided with an added secret bonus ? a "spyware" program. Spyware may also be placed on CD's you purchase, too.

Maybe you agreed to it! You could have downloaded a program and checked the box to allow the program to take statistics from you "for their own use".

Maybe someone sent you spam, especially porn spam, and that spam created the spy. Spys can easily be placed, without your knowledge, in pictures or HTML email.

What you can do?

Purchase a firewall program and it should let you know if a program is about to download from the website you are at. Note the word "should".

Or you can learn all about spyware, download an anti-spyware program, and schedule time in your weekly calendar to run an anti-spyware program. The first time I conducted a "clean up", on my 18-month old computer, I found 2 porn and 42 other spyware programs. Then a week later, I had 4 new spyware files appear.

To further reduce the amount of spyware that ends up in your e-mail Inbox, create a "rule" or "filter" that will move any e-mail containing "certain adult words of your choosing" directly to your delete or spam folder.

Norton and MacAfee the virus protection specialists, have added anti-spy programs to the list of maintenance programs they sell. However, according to information I've seen on email lists, they're not as anywhere as good as the Ad-aware program from Lavasoft.

Just a note: If a few people use your computer and each has their own log in password, when you run LavaSoft program, you need to run it under each password. Example: Let's say Katie and Molly have passwords on your computer. Log in as Katie and run Lava Soft. Then log out of Katie, and log in as Molly and "run the program again." I'm sure, you'll find additional spys under each log in name ? just like I did last weekend when I cleaned and updated a friend's computer.

Use the resources below to help you learn more about Spy's:

Learn about protecting your computer from spam and spyware
http://www.unwantedlinks.com/
http://grc.com/optout.htm
http://www.spyware.co.uk/

Check for spyware on new software before you download it.
http://www.spychecker.com/

Free anti-spyware program.
Use it at least monthly and don't delete the items you really want! http://www.lavasoft.de/

Opt out of double click ads
http://www.doubleclick.com/us/corporate/privacy/privacy/ad-cookie/default.asp

Removing your e-mail, address and telephone numbers from lists.
http://www.dmaconsumers.org/consumerassistance.html#mail

Anti-Spam Tools
http://www.webattack.com/freeware/comm/fwspam.shtml

BONUS: Opt-out of credit card marketing mail
The three big credit-reporting companies provide your information to "resellers" or "vendors". To curtail this abuse, call toll free 888-567-8688. Listen to all the options before hitting a key. #3 is the best option to remove you "forever" (well till you change your phone number). Remember to get your cell phone number removed, too. Once you call them they will mail you a confirmation letter for you to mail back to them.

© 2004 Maria Marsala, Business Growth Strategist. Bringing women-owned service businesses our Wall Street expertise. Your bottom line is NO accident. If your income has been hovering or flat lining the past year or so, if you are working more than 35 hours per week and have no passive income stream, we need to talk. http://www.coachmaria.com You have nothing to loose and everything to gain!

In The News:

Put Alexa and Siri to Work  The New York Times
Ready. Set. Write a Book.  The New York Times
Four Years in Startups  The New Yorker

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