How Did I Get Spyware?

Spyware is a phenomenon of the Internet and it is protected by legal contracts that you agreed upon. Why would you agree on something so horrible? Easy. Remember the song in Mary Poppins “Just a spoon full of sugar, makes the medicine go down, the medicine go down?” Here is how you agreed to spyware.

If you are like most people, concerned with things like the weather, you might be enticed to download a small weather program that attaches itself to the bottom right hand corner of your computer screen, known as the “system tray.” This program informs you of the exact temperature and the possibility of rain in your area. In addition, this program is absolutely free. Or, is it?

When you downloaded your new personal weather channel, you were presented with a legal contract that you had to agree to obey before you were allowed to install the “free” program. Most of these agreements are long and convoluted. In order to read the entire agreement you might need a law degree or spend hours reading it in order to understand what it is actually saying. Therefore, most people just skip actually reading it.

The installation process does not know if you read it or not. As long as you clicked the button “I agree”, the installation continues. That is where we humans lose the battle against the marketing giants. The agreement we glossed over or completely ignored spelled out exactly how they are going to stick it to us.

First, they explain that in order to offset the cost of production for your display of the temperature, they must provide you with ads from their sponsors. That is, someone paid big money for you to see their pop-up ad. And, as they say, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”, because you are actually paying for your free weather channel via pop-ups.

In summary, if you are truly lost without that free program that predicts rain and if you are willing to endure those endless pop-ups, I would suggest you get up off your seat and look out your window. Go outside and put your hand out. If it gets wet, it’s raining. If you feel like you need a jacket, it’s cold. If your hat gets blown away, it’s windy. Not only that, it is pop-up free and you don’t need a lawyer to interpret any lengthy contracts.

Beware! some disreputable web sites have pop-up ads that advertise “free monitor”, “free dinner”, “you might be infected with spyware”, etc. and ask you to “Click Here for Yes” or “Click Here for No”. Both of these options have the same link. Why would it have the same link? Because even by clicking “No”, you are enabling the spyware to be installed in your computer.

How do I get rid of Spyware?

Once you have spyware, it can be difficult to do any real work on your computer. You might even be crippled to the extent that your computer will not be able to respond as it is busy processing all the pop-ups. Remember the earlier example of you driving in your car and being unable to get to work due to all the interruptions; the same is true of your computer not being able to perform the tasks you want due to all the pop-up interruptions it is receiving. The best solution is always prevention.

Prevention can best be achieved by not installing “free” programs. However, the assistance of an expert is always a good idea since spyware can also be installed accidentally. One program I recommend is AVG Internet Security It is very easy to use, and very inexpensive.

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