What is spware? How do I get rid of it? | University of Oregon: Information Security
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What is spyware?

Spyware is malicious software often bundled with other software used frequently by advertisers to gather information about a computer user's internet browsing habits. Spyware decreases your computer's performance and may compromise your confidentiality.

How do I avoid getting spyware?

Spyware can be installed on your computer in a number of ways, and although there is no fool proof way of protecting your computer against spyware (or other threats) some steps can be taken to minimize the chance of your computer becoming infected.

  • Make sure your operating system is up to date
  • Use Mozilla Firefox instead of Internet Explorer when browsing the internet from a Windows based computer.
  • Avoid using Peer-to-peer file sharing programs (Limewire, Bearshare, etc.)
  • Use anti-virus software, and update your virus definitions regularly (McAfee Virus Scan is provided by the University, it contains an anti-spyware module),
  • Choose an anti-spyware tool (spybot, adaware, etc.), keep it updated, and run it religiously.

    If you follow these tips you will be much less likely to get spyware or a virus. For more information on any of these steps refer to our Safer Computing Guide

    How do I remove spyware

    The easiest way to remove spyware is to use an anti-spyware tool. These tools scan your hard drive for known spyware, and are able to remove them upon the completion of the scan.

    Beware! There are many programs available on the internet that appear to be anti-spyware tools, but are in fact spyware themselves. If you plan to use an anti-spyware tool, please refer to our Tools page and choose one from the list.