Keeping ' spyware' off your computer

Tuesday, August 24th 2004, 10:33 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Cyber Crimes detectives say thousands of computer users have some evil software programs hiding on their computers and they don't even know it.

News on 6 reporter Patrina Adger says many of us bank online to make purchases or pay our bills. But what if you found out someone was tracking every move you made on your computer.

It's called spyware and it allows cyber stalkers to do just that. It's a program that secretly transmits information to a third party online and you have no idea it's happening. "Buying on the Internet and taking their chances. As I tell me friends, if you use the Internet it's a gamble." Cyber Crimes detective Richard Coleman says spyware hides in your computer and retrieves e-mail addresses and personal information like your bank account, credit card and social security numbers, which can result in unwanted spam and identity theft.

Adware is similar but it allows advertisers to pop up banners on your screen instead of the program you want. Coleman says spyware is difficult to detect once it's in your hard drive, so he suggests downloading ‘Spybot’, a free program that searches and destroys popups and other unwanted information.

Coleman ran the program on his computer and "it's telling me these are the results of the scan. This is what that program has found." The program caught 14 spy and adware programs before they got into his computer.

Coleman recommends using anti-virus software along with firewalls with the ‘Spybot’ for added protection. "Nothing is a hundred percent based on my experience, but it's better than nothing!"

There are a number of software you can download on your computer that cost anywhere from $20 to about $70. However, you can download ‘Spybot’ for free at SPYBOT.