I Spy...Something Terribly Wrong (In Your Computer)
This really chapped my lips...
I recently bought a new computer. Mine was getting old, had lost its whistle, and the few remaining bells didn't ding a nicely as they had in the past. Yep, it was time for a new state-of-the art dream machine with CD burner. DVD player, a bazillion gigabyte drive and more RAM than Rambo has. I whipped out my trusty credit card and told my local CompUSA to ring it up.
Well, needless to say I was enthralled. Blazing speed, working whistles, and bells that were more like the Big Ben gong! I could tear through spreadsheets with one CD/ROM tied behind my back. One day, about three months later, my Son came home form college. having heard all about my new pride and joy, he sat down behind the keyboard and fired that puppy up. He put it through its paces for about 30 minutes and then turned and said "It's nice Dad, but I thought it would be faster". HE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE FASTER? What was he, crazy? This box was so hot that it came with it's own fire department.
Then he started poking around the hard drive. "Dad", he said "You need an exterminator. Your PC is infested." "Infested with what, bugs?". "Nope", he said "Spyware". "Spy What?". "Spyware", he replied. And then he explained.
Even thought I had a good virus prevention utility installed, it didn't protect me against Spyware. Spyware, it seeks, are nasty little programs that get downloaded in similar fashion to the way a virus does. It can be attached to an email, or even one of those new talking E-Cards. it can hide in one of those "Click Here to close this window" boxes, or in any of seemingly a hundred other secret ways.
There are essentially two types of Spyware. The less dangerous type either causes lots of ads to pop up every time you go on the Internet, or records your shopping and surfing habits in order to report them back to Big Brother somewhere. Of course, these steal your PC's clock cycles, and cause your hard drive to get bloated, which ends up slowing your entire system down. The problem is, the loss of speed is gradual and you don't even know it's happening until Mr. Big Shot college kid comes along and tells you that your PC is slow.
OK, that's bad enough. But then, there is the second kind of Spyware. used by real spies, or at least the kind that want to steal your credit card and personal information so they can clean out your bank accounts and assume your identity. You know, the scary stuff that you're starting to hear about more and more.
So, what should I do? Did I need to reformat my hard drive? I hoped not because THAT was no walk in the park. Fortunately my college geek was up on the subject and took me to a site that specialized in safely removing Spyware. We downloaded and installed it in just a few minutes and then fired it up. Holey Schmolie, I was infested. After about 25 minutes of chunking and plunking, the software pronounced me fit and clean. Well, at least my PC was. We rebooted and Boom! All of the speed and performance that had gradually been lost slammed right back into life. Even my Son was impressed.
Folks, this Spyware is serious stuff. You can't afford to be wiped out by some cyber terrorist half way across the world. protect your PC, and your identity. You probably already are infested. There's only one way to know for sure, you need to check it out for yourself.
Steve Robichaud and Andrew Wroblewski have been involved in online sales and marketing since 1996. For more information on finding and removing Spyware from your PC, visit: http://spyware.pcwash.com
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