Getting a Spyware Check
Spyware can load itself onto your computer without any warning. It can hide from an anti-virus program, survive efforts to remove and lurk on your hard drive without any obvious signs. While it resides there, it can use your computer's own resources and applications to log your keystrokes and send your credit card numbers and secure passwords to it creators, reset your browser home page, get your modem to call premium-rate phone numbers, open up security holes in your system allowing more malware to come in, cause pop-up advertising in spite of your pop-up blockers and firewall, and ultimately cause your system to become overloaded and slow to a crawl.
How Do You Know?
Even if your protection programs spot spyware and try to eliminate it, some spyware is clever enough to allow the destruction of some of its components so that your anti-spyware program will read it as destroyed while it can repair itself and continue its work. You need to do a regular spyware check even if no symptoms are showing up. The more dangerous forms of spyware do their best to keep you in the dark while they steal your information. Some of these programs even dismantle the showier types of spyware just to keep you from running an anti-spyware program.
You can do a spyware check for free online at many sites. A search will reveal them. Be sure that you don't download any plug-ins or programs. Some spyware is bundled with anti-spyware software. It will attack the spyware of its competitors while running its own. Two competing spyware companies sued each other because their programs eliminated each other. It was settled out of court.
You can purchase reliable anti-spyware programs to perform a spyware check and destroy any spyware it finds. This might eliminate some free programs and plug-ins that you might want to keep, however. Google is involved with a program that lists known web sites where malware is downloaded.
When you search with Google, a warning page will appear if you click on a page that has been reported. While this doesn't qualify as a true spyware check, it does perform a similar task. Anti-spyware programs that offer real time protection provide a spyware check on each web site as you view it. Any spyware check is only as good as its ability to spot the latest version. The spyware check program on your computer will need updating. Today's spyware demands vigilance and education to keep your computer free of it.