Protecting yourself from spyware: What your anti-spyware scanner should do for you

Spyware is a threat to everyone that uses the Internet, but not all anti-spyware programs are created equal. Here are some of basic functions you should look for that will help keep you spyware free when surfing the Internet.
Published: Mar 2, 2006
Author: Nate
Spyware cleaners

With all the spyware out there on the Internet it is easy to get it on your computer and you might not even know it is there. Spyware can slow down your computer and send information about the Web sites you visit, but there are also lots of anti-spyware programs on the market. How do you pick between them all and what basic functions should one have?

The first feature is an auto-update of the spyware definitions. Scanning with outdated definitions will not help against the onslaught of new spyware that is generated daily. Having a manual update feature is also handy for the times you just want to make sure you are up to date. An auto-update feature keeps the program up to date so you do not have to wonder if you have the latest program definitions.

For forgetful users like myself an auto-protect feature come in handy. A program that is not running is like an unfastened seatbelt in a crash, sure, it is there but it is not going to do you any good if something bad happens. If you have an anti-spyware program that is always running when you start your computer the less chance there is of getting spyware when you are using it.

Being able to schedule when the program will scan helps to keep your computer clean, and helps to eliminate interruptions by the program starting up on you while you are in the middle of a task. If you do not have the newest and best computer out there a scan can slow your work down. When I am playing a game on my computer I do not want anything extra running in the background that could slow me down. I leave my computer running most of the time and have the program set up to scan when I am most likely not going to be using it.

After scanning and seeing what was found you might not want to remove everything. Being able to select what you want to remove is useful. If you have cookies on your computer for your favorite sites, login information or your search choices, removing them every time can get old after a while. Also, no spyware program is 100% accurate on what it finds, and you could be removing something that you want to keep on your system.

These are the four main functions to look for in an anti-spyware program. Sure there are many other extra features that can come with a program, but if you do not have these basics you are already missing out on the protection you should have.

About Nate

Nate started working for Tucows in late 2000 as a reviewer. He is now the senior reviewer and has been labeled the token computer fixer in the office. He enjoys online computer games, watching hockey and telling his dog to stop eating everything he sees.

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