Like virus infections, the majority of spyware infestations are silent. The computer rarely gives any indication that a new program has been installed -- certainly not one that is such a nuisance. You only know something is wrong when windows start popping up or your browser is hijacked.
Up until recently, Internet Explorer didn't provide the user with an easy way to determine which low-level plug-ins were installed, making it difficult to detect when an unwanted plug-in was wreaking havoc. The latest revisions of IE 6.0 and above allow this; see "Advanced cleanup" for more details.
In some cases, the offending program shows up as a new entry in Add/Remove programs and can be removed this way. Many of the more "above-board" spyware programs that are designed as revenue-generating add-ons for other software work like this (TopMoxie, for instance), but the parent program they're installed with may not work if the spyware is removed. If one breaks, they both break.
How to remove spyware
Step 1: Get familiar with spyware now if not already
Step 2: Know where spyware comes from
Step 3: Recognize how spyware acts
Step 4: Understand what damage spyware can cause
Step 5: Choose tools to clean up spyware
Step 6: Use these advanced techniques to clean up spyware
Step 7: Install service packs to prevent spyware infections
Step 8: Take additional initiatives to prevent spyware infections
Step 9: Plan ahead for new spyware tactics
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR:|
Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators -- and please share your thoughts as well!
Copyright 2005 TechTarget
This was first published in June 2005