If you’re on the internet, and almost ALL of us are, someone is trying to get into your Raleigh computer. Websites that you visit placing simple logon cookies. Paid advertising cookies tracking your movements on the web. Even malicious keyloggers that are designed to record your keystrokes and discover passwords. No matter HOW you slice it – there’s a LOT of effort to get into your Raleigh computer. Spyware, adware, and computer viruses are a a big problem – period.
Many of these malware items can be dangerous and seriously threaten your online privacy and identity – and can do serious damage TO your Raleigh computer if left active. Even the simple and supposedly benign Adware programs can cause you serious problems. Yesterday, I wrote about improving PC peformance – beyond just cleanup, one of the biggest things that does impact your Raleigh computer is the presence of viruses, spyware, adware and other assorted malware.
What are these things DOING on my Raleigh Computer?
Spyware refers to pretty much program that hops into your computer with the intent to spy on your activity. This can be recording your online searching habits, sites you visit and can eventually be a gateway to get into your machine deep. Keystroke loggers are usually a product of having left a virus alone and NOT getting it repaired on your Raleigh computer. A keystroke logger – which is also very similar to many of the “nanny programs” that parents frequently use to track their kids’ computer usage – records everything that you type on your keyboard. Adware is very annoying. It is designed to watch where you go and what you do online, keep track of your general search terms, and then usually report this back home – online advertisers that will pop ads up on your computer whenever you’re online. If you are like MANY people, you are ALWAYS connected so you will be fed a steady stream of garbage and annoying popups on your Raleigh computer.
Cookies and your Raleigh Computer
Many, if not just about all, advertisers and websites will try and place a “cookie” on your computer. Cookies themselves are NOT bad. Many times, this will be to just identify you as having been on the site, or your current logon status for that site. It could be to track where you go on the website to help the site figure out which pages “work” for visitors and which ones might be improved or ditched. Just because a website puts a cookie on your computer does NOT mean it’s a bad thing. If you had to login everytime you went from page to page on a membership site, it would get old fast. Real fast. Of all things mentioned here, the cookie is the most innocuous. Cookies are used for “good” purposes most of the time. However, they can be used for tracking larger patterns and that is where some security and privacy experts start crowing. In general, cookies are NOT something to worry about.
The stuff to keep OFF your Raleigh Computer
The BIG culprits in screwing up your Raleigh computer are the adware, spyware and viruses. Some of these little mini-applications can go haywire and just about cripple or shutdown your ability to do anything on your computer. The virus / malware will be so busy running – and many times they are poorly written – that it will suck up ALL your computer processing time. That’s usually when we get the call about fixing a Raleigh computer. These programs can literally slow your computer down to a crawl, or make it crash altogether. They can fill your computer up with trash files, open unwanted popup windows, use up the space in your internet cache and generally just make working on your computer a nightmare that won’t end. Unless of course, you call Lizardwebs Raleigh Computer Repair! (Or some other Raleigh computer repair place, but we of course ARE a bit biased.
Can you clean up your OWN Raleigh Computer?
Yes, you can. Not always, but sometimes if the infection hasn’t gone completely berserk on your computer, you CAN do it yourself. Luckily there are several easy solutions to the problem. Spyware and Adware are not the same thing as a computer virus or Trojan Horse. For viruses, if you have an antivirus solution in place, use it. If not, you can try to get one on there, but often a “good” virus will actually block access to many of the antivirus company websites as well as Microsoft. This pretty much eliminates your hope of getting a program on your computer to remove the virus. You CAN download these programs to another computer and use a USB drive to move it over. Though IF you do this, make sure you SCAN that USB stick pronto.
Suggested AntiSpyware for your Raleigh computer
Good programs are SuperAntiSpyware, Ad-aware from Lavasoft and Spy Sweeper from Webroot Software although there are several others. You can easily find both of these by doing an internet search for Ad-aware and Spy Sweeper or simply do a search for spyware.
Caution: Do Not INSTALL spyware masquerading as “Antispyware”
We see this with some frequency. People start installing the first thing they find on a search. And if you have a virus or spyware on your computer, they are OFTEN pointing you to rogue / bogus sites to BEGIN WITH! We urge restraint on installing programs that you find in internet searches willy-nilly though. There are a number of rogue programs that are absolute garbage and may even be viruses themselves. If you download a program to try to resolve your Raleigh computer issues, a SAFE place to download software is at http://download.cnet.com/. DO NOT INSTALL MULTIPLE REAL-TIME PROGRAMS – or you will have a whole NEW set of problems on your Raleigh computer!