Friday, June 18, 2004

A friend of mine has had some trouble with spyware on her computer. I thought it would be good to mention it here, and help others avoid it!

Spyware is a little program that gets installed on your computer. It sends reports 'back home' to the company that installed it, about what sites you've visited. It's a way of tracking the way people use the internet, and used for marketing purposes.

Sometimes it will display ads based on searches you've done. We once had spyware on our computer that did this. If I went to and searched for "tips for housecleaning" it would then take me to a page with its own links for housecleaning websites and products.

It stays on your system, quietly tracking and reporting everything you do on the 'net, and it ends up slowing your system down, and sometimes bothering you with pop-up ads all day long.

The way to AVOID spyware is pretty simple.

When you are browsing the internet, and see a pop-up that says "download this program to keep your computer clock up-to-date at all times" or "download this tool to give you weather reports" or ANYTHING like that, DON'T DO IT!! Instruct your children to not do it!! (Our children were the ones who got us into spyware trouble to begin with.)

You can check and see if you have spyware through "Ad Aware" which a program you can download at