Spyware Detector Guide

  spyware bug

What's Your Infestation - Adware or Spyware

Spyware Detector And Protector Guide

While we can go on and on with Internet statistics or give you some boring lecture on how to safely surf the Internet, we're going to spare you the read and honestly get straight to what matters. 

What matters?  Protecting yourself from potential online threats such as credit card or identity theft matters. 

Below we will briefly go over the differences between spyware and adware, then show you how to spot an infection, and finally we will give you some great quick prevention tips. 

Don't hesitate to contact us with any questions for we would be happy to assist you in removing any spyware nasties on your computer.


Spyware Detector Guide - Adware vs Spyware Compared  


Adware software:
  • Displays ads on your computer.

  • Keeps track of non personally identifying activity in order to serve you specific advertisements.

  • Requests your permission to be installed and clearly identifies its purpose.

  • Gives you the ability to uninstall and completely remove all traces of it from your system.


Spyware software:

  • Stealthily monitors and reports activity on your computer.

  • Fails to disclose its full purpose in order to get you to install it.

  • Tricks you to install it on your computer.

  • Does not give you a way to uninstall or fails to uninstall completely leaving part of the software operational.


Are You Currently Infected With Spyware?

Possible Symptoms:

  • An increasingly sluggish response from your computer.

  • Browser windows opening automatically when you start Windows.

  • Pop-up windows appearing constantly when you're online.

  • Your Internet browser's home page or default search engine being changed.

  • Frequent Internet browser and program crashes.

  • New toolbars or bookmarks appearing in your Internet browser.

  • Sites added to your Internet browser's Trusted Sites or exceptions list.

  • Unpredictable Internet browser behaviour.

  • Blocked access to sites, especially anti-virus or anti-spyware sites.

  • New programs in the (system tray) down by the clock in the bottom right hand corner.


Spyware Detector Guide - Prevention Tips

Tip 1:  Do not use Internet Explorer.  Use Mozilla Firefox instead.  Internet Explorer is more susceptible to spyware because of its support for a scripting feature called ActiveX and additionally it is tightly integrated into Windows.  Go to my Recommended Software page and follow the link to download Firefox now if you haven't done so already. 

Spyware Detector Tip:  Sometimes a website will require Internet Explorer's ActiveX capability.  In these cases make sure you completely trust the site before proceeding to use Internet Explorer.


Tip 2:  Use anti-virus software.  There's no good reason to not use one.  If your reason happens to be money go to my Recommended Software page now and check out AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition.  Make sure both the real-time protection and auto update option is always turned on.  This insures you get the real-time protection you need to stop bugs in their tracks and that you receive crucial virus definition files. 

Spyware Detector Tip Always remove an existing anti-virus software before installing a new one.


Tip 3:  Use more than one anti-spyware program.  No anti-spyware program is 100 percent effective in prevention or cleaning ability.  Like anti-virus software always keep each program updated, especially before running full system scans.  CounterSpy, Spyware Doctor, and SpySweeper offer good real-time protection for a decent price.  If you prefer to go the free route like myself, I personally use Windows Defender for my real-time protection and SpyBot-Search & Destroy  for cleanup and regular maintenance. See Recommended Software Page 

Spyware Detector Tips:  Enable real-time protection on one anti-spyware software only so you don't bog down your computer.  Don't forget to run a full system scan using each software at the minimum once a week or after any high-risk online activities such as peer-to-peer file sharing.


Tip 4:  Adopt safe online practices.  Spyware will most likely originate from your online activities, so pay special attention to this tip.  Below I will start out with Internet Browser, email, and finally downloading best practices. 

Spyware Detector Tip:  Remember, spyware will most likely originate online so pay special attention to this tip.

Internet Browser

  • Always read links and dialog boxes carefully before clicking anything.

  • Never click Close or Cancel in a pop-up for spyware often disguise themselves to look like legitimate Microsoft Windows error messages. Often these links will actually install spyware so your best bet is to always close pop-ups using the X in the top right-hand corner of the window.

  • If you cannot close a suspicious pop-up, use Ctrl+Alt+Del to bring up the task manager and then terminate Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox or other browser depending on what you use.

  • Pay close attention to how questions are worded online for you may be fooled into clicking Yes to an install or sign up.

  • Make sure your Internet browser has it's pop-up blocker enabled.

  • Check for Internet browser updates at least each week.

  • Periodically check the security settings of your Internet browser just in case they have been modified.  For example in Internet Explorer make sure there are no suspicious looking sites added to the Trusted Sites list.

  • Before you ever enter sensitive information online look for the https:// prefix (note the 's' on the end) in the Web address and lock icon usually located in the bottom right corner of the browser window notifying you that the webpage is secure.

  • Watch for suspicious looking changes in the way a website appears.  If it looks weird to you it doesn't hurt to close the browser.


  • Never click links in any email that looks to be spam.

  • Never click links to financial institutions or log-in sites and instead open your Internet browser manually and type the address in directly or use a previously saved bookmark.

  • Never buy a product advertised in a spam email.

  • Setup a secondary Web-based email account and use it for all non-important email. 

  • Never open attachments from unknown sources.

  • Scan all attachments for viruses before you open them.


  • Establish a download policy for anyone using your computer. This is especially important if children or young people share the computer as game and file sharing sites are major sources of spyware.

  • Do not use peer-to-peer file sharing programs such as Kazaa, Limewire, or Bearshare, etc.  If you absolutely must use file sharing programs and can afford it you may want to setup another standalone non-networked computer which contains no financial or other personal information for this purpose.

  • Before downloading anything, always read the software licence agreement (EULA) carefully and completely.

Spyware Detector Guide - Conclusion

We hope you find these tips helpful and we wish you the best of luck with all your online adventures.  If you feel there is anything you want me to add to this page or you have specific questions, remember don't hesitate to contact us.  Thanks again.

See also:

Return from Spyware Detector Guide to Home Page

Contact us | View site map