One of the biggest problems internet users encounter today are rogue anti spyware programs that try to convince you that downloading the full version of the program will protect you from all of the ills on the internet. It can be difficult to understand which products may be harmful to your machine and which ones may actually enhance your online experience. The first step, though, is to understand exactly what rogue anti spyware programs are and how they function. A Bit of Background The term spyware was initially created to refer to hardware that had other purposes in mind.
However, over time, the meaning changed to denote software programs that literally spied on you and what you were doing. Research suggests that over sixty percent of all computers have spyware issues. Microsoft has even suggested that spyware is the single biggest security risk for computer users. Rogue anti spyware programs were primarily created to deceive consumers. The hope of most manufacturers is that consumers will see the danger warnings, click the box, and purchase the product.
They're essentially designed to scare customers into purchasing the product, whether it works or not. The only comprehensive study of rogue anti spyware programs was done by Eric L. Howes. He's also the author of the Anti-Spyware Test Guide, one of the internet's premiere anti spyware resources. In an interview with Australia's TheAge.com, Howes mentioned that of the 130 anti spyware programs he's tested, almost all of them are junk.
"The depressing thing is that these people are making money out of this stuff, selling crappy products to users who have already been victimized once. Of the junk programs, there are tools that claim to detect spyware, but when you try to clean up the problem they say, surprise, you must pay $59.95 - that's just sleazy," Howes said. The Tactics You may have seen many of these rogue anti spyware programs on your own computer.
From popup advertisements on websites suggesting this program is the only one that will save your machine to programs that download and install themselves on your machine so you can enjoy the fun of pop ups even when you're not online, these programs have a variety of ways to ensure that you're frightened enough to make that purchase. Take a look at some of them. When you visit a website, a small window pops up and suggests it is "scanning" your computer for dangerous spyware.
It even comes up with a few results to demonstrate that your machine is infected with the product. After downloading a program or visiting an untrustworthy site, a small notification balloon pops up on your screen despite the fact that you're not online. It resembles a Windows notification alert, and it tells you that your computer is infected. The only option it gives you is to click and download an additional product to take care of the infection. Your desktop background or default internet start page changes suddenly.
Both may suggest that you are infected with spyware and need to take steps to remedy that with a particular program. Is It Really That Bad? Sure, those rogue anti spyware programs are annoying, but are they really dangerous? Absolutely, suggests Paul Ducklin, Asia Pacific's head of technology for Sophos. In a 2004 interview, Ducklin said that rogue anti spyware programs can "include key loggers (capturing passwords), software loggers (collecting computer details) and web redirectors (which take browsers to fake banking sites). There are even webcam "sniffers", which seek control over our cameras "to spy on you quite literally as you work." All of this can spell serious danger for you and your computer. With identity theft at an all time high, it is essential that you not only identify whether or not your machine is currently playing host to a rogue anti spyware program, but also that you remove it as soon as possible.
Finding the Right Cure If you do find that your PC is playing host to a number of rogue anti spyware programs, all is not lost. There are several things you can do to save yourself and your computer from harm. First, find reputable anti spyware software to help you clean your computer. Visit a number of forums, message boards, and review sites before you download one to ensure that you get a worthwhile program. Once you've cleaned your machine as best as you possibly can, consider looking at a spyware removal forum and talking with the volunteers about ways to ensure your system is free from those rogue anti spyware programs. When you're sure your computer is free of programs like those, update and run your anti spyware and anti virus software on a regular basis.
A combination of several good tools may help you keep your machine free from these pests, but your first weapon in this fight will always be a knowledge of the rogue anti spyware problems out there waiting to take advantage of you and your computer.
By Jeraint Jones for http://www.removeadware.com.au/ - Here you'll learn about online privacy and how to remove adware. http://www.removeadware.com.au/ : Please link to this site when using this article.