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Spring 2004 Informer Articles

Ad-ware, Spy-ware and Mal-ware

Spy-ware, Ad-ware, Mal-ware: Is your computer infected?

You've probably heard the words before and even if not, you probably have some of these programs on your computer, running as you read this page. You may have the latest updates of your anti-virus program and you're sure that your computer is clean, but your computer is acting strangely and you don't know why.

The most likely culprits for strange computer behavior, especially involving the internet are programs called spy-ware, ad-ware and mal-ware. These programs are often installed when you visit web pages and when you download free software. Their main purpose: to gather information about your computer and how you use it to send out to companies so they know more about their potential customers. These programs or warez as they're sometimes called can cause many problems with your computer, making it frustrating to go online.

Some signs that you have spy-ware, ad-ware, or mal-ware on your computer :

  1. You get many pop-up ads, sometimes when you are not connected to the internet
  2. Your homepage sometimes changes to a different site. When manually reset to your homepage, it changes again.
  3. You get illegal operation errors when trying to use Internet Explorer
  4. Your computer dials or prompts you to dial when you are not using anything related to the Internet
  5. Your computer is dialing 900 numbers, causing you to have expensive phone bills
  6. When you go online your computer becomes much slower, even with programs not related to the Internet
  7. When you run searches online an unfamiliar site displays the results, sometimes in a new window
  8. New items appear in your Favorites list, if you delete them they simply reappear
  9. New toolbars appear at the top of Internet Explorer, sometimes replacing old toolbars. If you remove them, they reappear the next time you load IE or restart your computer

Even if everything seems to be running just fine and you have none of these problems, it is still possible that your computer is infected.

Fortunately there are steps that can be taken. At Info Link, we recommend the use of Spybot S&D and Ad-aware. These programs are free for download and may be used separately or in conjunction to keep your computer free of warez and running smoothly. Both Spybot and Ad-aware work like anti-virus programs only they search for warez instead of viruses. They scan your system and remove any programs which should not be there.

There are several ways for you to get these programs :

  1. Download them for free! The following links will take you to sites where you can download these programs for free use:
  2. Don't feel like waiting for the downloads? Info Link offers a CD with both programs for $10. Simply insert the CD into your CD-ROM drive, install the programs and run them.
  3. If you want even less hassle, you can bring in your PC for a complete cleanup where our staff will search your computer for warez, viruses and clean up your startup list for $34.95. You simply have to bring in your tower and we will do all the work! Most cleanups are finished within twenty-four hours.

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