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About Viruses ...
Computer viruses range from pesky to outright dangerous. Some just display a message, while others erase your entire hard disk. Clicking on what looks like a harmless e-mail message can lead to hours of recovery efforts, if not irreparable damage. Learn about the different types of computer "infection" and how to avoid them.
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About Firewalls...
Firewalls have helped protect computers in large companies for years. Learn how firewalls work and why you might want one for your business or home network.
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About Spyware... Spyware is programming that is put in someone's computer to secretly gather information about the user and relay it to advertisers or other interested parties.
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How can you protect yourself from Spyware?

Ideally, you should thoroughly read "end-user" agreements before installing software. Data collection habits often are buried in the documentation.

A more practical solution: Install a firewall. Firewalls can be set to monitor incoming and outgoing transmissions.

If you have spyware installed on your computer, the firewall will alert you if the program tries to reach the outside world to report your personal information.

ZoneAlarm by ZoneLabs.com is CyberHome's Firewall of choice. The basic program is free.

Another recommended free program that can detect spyware is Spybot by pepiMK Software.

Tools to clean Spyware...

Who is Spying on you and your PC?

Spyware also known as Adware, is a concealed software program that resides on your PC and transmits information about you and your Web surfing habits back to a data collection point via your connection to the Internet. This spyware software was installed on your PC while you interactively visited a Web site or by downloading and installing free software from the Web.

Spyware watches where you surf!

Who are the Spyware perpetrators?

Your computer may be watching you !

If you download free software from the Net — especially the ragingly popular music-sharing programs and Web games — chances are you've also gotten more than you've bargained for. Freeloading programs can quietly piggyback onto your PC during the download process and then do things surreptitiously once they get there.

The software — dubbed adware, stealthware and spyware — can track your surfing habits, use your Net connection to report back to a home base and deliver targeted ads to you. It also can collect your personal information and store it in databases.

Companies that allow adware to tack onto their downloads say they do so because that's the only way they can offer their software for free; adware companies pay to have their software carried.

Many people who download free software understand that the price they pay is sharing private information and getting ads. But critics charge that some companies don't properly notify users.

Once installed, adware can do almost anything. Most of the time, it tracks which sites are visited and delivers targeted ads, for which companies generally pay more. For example, if you're searching for baby names and diapers, the software may deliver a minivan ad to you.

The end result? When you download that new free game, if it came with adware, you'll start getting pop-up (and pop-under) ads. They may pop up only when you play or they may pop up randomly.

Because adware is still relatively new and totally unregulated, companies are still experimenting. Some adware just collects and stores data, which can include highly personal information.

Companies sometimes tell you up front about the software and what it does. But most of the time, you have to slog through the fine print in user agreements to discover that a program intends to spy on you. If the FBI was doing this, people would be screaming bloody murder.

Why is it called "Spyware"?

While this may be a great concept, the downside is that the advertising companies also install additional tracking software on your system, which is continuously "calling home", using your Internet connection and reports statistical data to the "mothership". While according to the privacy policies of the companies, there will be no sensitive or identifying data collected from your system and you shall remain anonymous, it still remains the fact, that you have a "live" server sitting on your PC that is sending information about you and your surfing habits to a remote location.

Are all Adware products "Spyware"?

No, but the majority are. There are also products that do display advertising but do not install any tracking mechanism on your system. These products are not indexed in our database.

Is Spyware illegal?

Even though the name may indicate so, Spyware is not an illegal type of software in any way. However there are certain issues that a privacy oriented user may object to and therefore prefer not to use the product. This usually involves the tracking and sending of data and statistics via a server installed on the user's PC and the use of your Internet connection in the background.

What's the hype about?

While legitimate adware companies will disclose the nature of data that is collected and transmitted in their privacy statement (linked from our database), there is almost no way for the user to actually control what data is being sent. The fact is that the technology is in theory capable of sending much more than just banner statistics - and this is why many people feel uncomfortable with the idea.

On the other hand...

Millions of people are using advertising supported "spyware" products and could not care less about the privacy hype..., in fact some "Spyware" programs are among the most popular downloads on the Internet.

Possible actions

You may want to take action against one of the spyware perpetrators. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, go to the FTC web site, call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to: Federal Trade Commission, CRC-240, Washington, D.C. 20580. If your complaint is against a company outside the US, file your complaint at http://www.econsumer.gov/.

You may never see any action as a result of your complaint, but if the stream of complaints keeps on, just maybe some action will be taken to guard us all from this kind of 'attack' on our privacy and our lives.

Tools to clean Spyware from your PC system

There are several tools available that let you detect and remove Spyware from your PC system. Cyberhome endorses Spybot - Search & Destroy, Ad-aware, and ZoneAlarm. There are other products available (click here for a .pdf list), but these are the best-of-the-best. Click on the product logo to go to the Web site for detail information and downloads.

If you need Acrobat Reader to read .pdf files click icon: Get Adobe Reader FREE

Who are the main spyware perpetrators? Click here for a .pdf list of the Worst!

Click here for additional information on the perpetrators.

CyberHome can install and setup any of these tools on your your PC. Call 727-523-7406 for details.

Spybot Web Site
Spybot - Search & Destroy from pepiMK Software can detect and remove spyware of different kinds from your computer. Spybot-S&D is free, so there's no harm in trying to see if something snooped into your computer.

PC Magazine has recently written a great review (click here to read it) about spyware and ways to remove it. After reviewing 9 different spyware removal programs, they came to this conclusion:

"Only one, PepiMK Software's SpyBot Search & Destroy (our Editors' Choice), actually managed to destroy the spyware and adware it detected without leaving much detritus behind. [...] SpyBot Search & Destroy is the best of the bunch. And as a free application (with a voluntary donation requested), it's far more worthy than competitors that cost upward of 30 dollars."

Lavasoft Web Site
Ad-aware Standard Edition by Lavasoft is the award winning, free, multi component detection and removal utility that has consistently lead the industry in safety, user satisfaction, support and reliability.

Ad-aware Plus Edition is the next level in protection. It includes all the functionality and power of the Standard Edition, but has been enhanced to provide the user with expandability, customization and real-time monitoring and blocking for their system or network. Not only can you remove privacy threats from your computing environment, you can also BLOCK them from invading your system in the first place!

ZoneAlarm Web Site
ZoneAlarm Basic is a free personal firewall that allows you to regulate any software that uses the internet, it can be used to block spyware communication. ZoneAlarm provides the basic protection individuals need to secure their PC and keep their valuable information private.

ZoneAlarm Pro is the award-winning PC firewall that keeps your personal data and privacy safe from Internet hackers and data thieves. Shield your system with our proven, award-winning personal firewall. Keep hackers at bay with protection against worms, Trojans, spyware, and 46 types of malicious email attachments. ZoneAlarm Pro includes Cookie Control and Ad Blocking for a faster, safer Internet experience.

CyberHome endorses all these tools and can install and set them up on your PC.
Call 727-523-7406 for more details.

Stop the Spying!
CyberHome - Clearwater - Florida - 727-523-7406