Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How do I know I have spyware?

If you're asking the question, you possibly have it.  However, there are some good signs:

  • You have too many popup windows.  Some of these are a normal part of web browsing. But if you get popups before you open your web browser, it's a sure sign you have spyware.
  • You can't reach certain web pages.
  • Your home page has changed and you can't change it back.
  • Software other than your regular antivirus warns you that you have spyware.
  • You get an antivirus message warning about multiple infections. Most antivirus software will give you a warning for each virus it detects.  If there's a second virus (unusual), it will give a second warning.  It will rarely give a single warning of multiple problems at once.  However, spyware sometimes does this in order to trick you into downloading it.
  • Your web browser has new toolbars you didn't remember installing. Toolbars come with a lot of software (Yahoo,, Google), but if one appears for something else, and you haven't installed software recently, it's a warning sign.
  • Your computer runs slowly. This can be caused if the computer is low on memory, but if you have a new computer, one cause of the slowdown can be spyware.

If you have any of these issues, it's a good idea to download and run Malwarebytes to scan for problems.