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Protect your computer from spyware

Learn about spyware and protecting your computer.


ArticleOVERVIEW

Spyware and protecting your computer

What is spyware?

In most instances, Spyware is not illegal. The problem with Spyware is that it gathers personal information about your internet usage and shares it with other companies. Although Spyware is generally harmless, there are times it can truly invade your privacy. The most extreme actions spyware software can perform are: email logging, keystroke capture, instant message logging, and screen captures.

Here are some symptoms of spyware:
  • Your computer is running slower than usual: This is one of the most common symptoms.
  • Your Internet connection is slower than usual: Spyware can use major computer memory resources. If more than one spyware program is running on your computer, you might have memory leaks, which can make your Internet connection appear much slower than normal.
  • Pop-up ads appear when you're not browsing the web: Even when you're not surfing the web, and don't even have a web browser open, spyware can still serve pop-up advertisements to you.
  • Spyware will change your default homepage, or set your computer so you can't change your own homepage again.
  • Redirecting websites: Spyware can make your browser automatically redirect to different websites.
  • Search tool bars appear in your browser: You may notice search bars appearing directly in your browser. These bars, also known as plug-ins, can sometimes be installed by spyware programs.
  • Spyware software appears in menus: Another indication that spyware has been installed on your computer is when suspicious programs and folders appear in your Start menu, startup menu, or system tray.


With AT&T Tech360, our IT-certified, U.S.-based technicians can assist with IT challenges like virus and spyware removal. Visit Tech360 or call 866.442.2827 to learn more.

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Removing spyware

Spyware is often very difficult to remove without the help of specialized anti-spyware programs (also known as spyware scanners). Spyware scanners identify and remove spyware from your computer. We recommend that you take advantage of these programs rather than attempting to remove spyware programs through conventional program uninstall methods, like the Add / Remove Programs utility in Windows.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow to help protect your computer from spyware:
  • Always be careful to fully understand what an application will be doing on your computer before you download it.
  • Beware, sometimes spyware programs are bundled with other software applications (especially file sharing applications), and will automatically install.
  • Be aware that spyware can be hidden in files shared through some popular file sharing applications, including KaZaA, LimeWire, BearShare, WinMX, iMesh, Morpheus, and XoloX. You can find more information on file sharing programs and spyware by reading this article: What is file sharing and how can I protect myself from spyware?

Note: Some spyware and/or adware may be included as part of software that you have licensed from a third party pursuant to a separate license agreement. This separate license agreement may require that you install and run the spyware or adware in order to receive the other software. AT&T Internet Services strongly recommends that you review all software licenses to which you have agreed. AT&T Internet Services is not responsible for any breach caused by your removal of required spyware or adware.
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AT&T Internet Security Suite - Powered by McAfee

To prevent future spyware installation on your computer, download and install AT&T Internet Security - powered by McAfee, from the AT&T Software Center.

Note: Spyware may be embedded in software you have licensed from a third party pursuant. A separate license agreement may require that you install and run the spyware in order to use the other software. AT&T Internet Services strongly recommends that you carefully review all software licenses to which you have agreed. If you use a utility to remove spyware, AT&T Internet Services is not responsible should a breach of a license agreement occur.
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