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Remove Spyware

You might need a nerd if…

  • Your computer is running slower than usual
  • Your Internet connection is exceptionally slow at random times
  • Your computer is generating odd and suspicious alert messages
  • You’re unsure how to update your operating system
  • You need help installing anti-spyware software

Common Terms

Brow­ser Hel­per Ob­jects

Browser Helper Objects (BHOs) are designed to add a feature to your browser, like reading PDFs. Malware uses BHOs to infect your computer.

remove spyware Spyware is software which stealthily captures your data and sends it to a third-party without your permission.   Some folks might ask, “So what? Does it really matter if software sits in the background watching what I’m doing? I have nothing to hide! What’s the big deal?” Well, hold your horses there. Spyware can cause all kinds of mischief, from big companies scrutinizing your browser activity through to hackers stealing your sensitive data. No worries, we’ll give you some good tips to keep spyware off your computer, but there’s always a shortcut! If you want rock solid spyware protection without any fuss, call us at 1-800-919-6373 or reach us through our contact form.

Why is spyware removal important?

Targeted marketing

Some spyware is creepy but fairly harmless. It’ll watch what you buy and what you’re interested in and this information will be sold to companies who use it to launch tailored ads right at you (often through adware, which you can learn more about here). It may also switch the home page on your browser to an ad-heavy equivalent without your permission. Depending on your personality and your feelings about surveillance this might strike you as a big deal or just a minor annoyance.

Data theft

However, spyware can be much more malicious. Some of the nastier versions of spyware can steal your information and send it directly to a hacker. We’re talking about all your passwords, your financial data, your correspondence, along with any ID information you store on your computer.   The theft of one individual password might not be a big deal, but hackers are adept at taking all these individual points of data and searching for ways to exploit the information to their advantage. While a library card or drivers’ license number may not be a problem in the scheme of things, enough of this data combined can be used to break into bank accounts, your tax records and the list goes on. The US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission both offer great resources through which you can learn more about identity theft.   Data theft can be a huge hassle, involving hours of time securing your various accounts. It can also be downright distressing. If you feel concerned that spyware may be on your computer and need a nerd’s help, call us on 1-800-919-6373 or fill out our contact form. We’re fast, reliable and we know what we’re doing.

Computer problems

Spyware makes a point of staying hidden, so often its impact on your computer system is minimal. It’s often subtle at first, but it gradually accumulates. As spyware accumulates in your system it begins to place pressure on your processor. You may start to notice some lag when you open your software. You might also notice that your mouse seems just a tiny bit more sluggish compared to last week.   Our customers often dismiss these performance issues, thinking it’s just their computer getting old. While that is possible, it could also be spyware infection.  

How to protect yourself from spyware

spyware-buster At Nerds On Call, we like to think of ourselves as master spyware-busters. We’ve seen it all and (not to brag or anything) we have spyware detection and destruction down to a fine art! If you’d like complete peace of mind, we offer a comprehensive spyware removal service. We’ll leave no file unturned. You can talk to a nerd here.   There are three things we recommend every computer owner do to make it harder for spyware to infect your computer. They won’t make you 100% safe but they’ll make a big difference.

Install anti-malware software

We’re constantly amazed by how many people don’t bother to install anti-malware on their computer! Whether you own a Windows PC or a Mac, it doesn’t matter. It makes a whole bucketload of sense to install decent malware protection on your computer. Will anti-malware software protect you against all kinds of malware, including spyware? No. It’s not perfect protection, but it is still highly effective against many kinds of malware.   We recommend Webroot for Windows PCs and Malwarebytes for Macs. Both are solid, reputable products which will protect your computer from many kinds of spyware (along with other kinds of malware).

Read the fine print!

fine print Believe it or not, a lot of spyware finds its way onto a computer because the computer’s owners gave permission for it to be there. You know those long, boring agreements you click “yes” to when you’re installing software? Hidden in the slabs of legalese, some software will request your permission to install its data-gathering software. Now, these agreements aren’t going to call it spyware of course! They’re going to ask if they can “collect certain non-personally identifiable data about your web surfing and computer usage”,  or some other fancy-schmancy way of requesting permission to spy on you.   When these kinds of requests occur, if you value your privacy the smart response is “no”.

Keep your operating system up-to-date

Operating systems are under constant attack from hackers seeking to find an exploit they can use to get inside computers. Entire teams of experts (aka the good guys) are constantly working to close off these exploits and keep your operating system as safe as possible. You can access these protections simply by updating your operating system. Luckily, this is a pretty easy thing to do. On a Mac, go into the App Store. Along the toolbar, you’ll see Updates. You’ll see a list of all available updates, not just in your operating system but in any apps you’ve purchased through the store. A quick and easy approach is simply to click ‘Update All’. However, you can also scan the list of available updates and choose only to update your operating system. You may also have the option to install security specific updates, like this: mac security specific update On a Windows PC, Click on the ‘Start’ button. In the search box, enter the search term ‘Update’. Click the ‘Check for updates’ button. If updates to Windows are available you’ll be given the option to ‘Install Updates’.  
  • Pro tip: For both Mac and Windows PC, be sure to be plugged into a mains outlet and don’t turn your computer off during the system update process.

Remove Spyware: When a nerd spyware-busting expert becomes super useful

Unfortunately, malware has become increasingly devious, stealthy and dangerous over the years. While the above methods are going to give you pretty decent protection, it doesn’t make you completely immune to spyware infection. The following symptoms are possible red flags for a serious spyware issue:
  • Your computer seems to be working unusually hard to do the usual tasks
If this is happening to you, there’s a good chance you have many versions of spyware draining your system resources, some of which may not be visible to your anti-malware. We can perform a deep scan and remove the offending software.
  • If your Internet connection is exceptionally slow at random times
This is a tricky one because Internet connection speeds are dependent on many variables. We can take a look at your connection and confirm if spyware is using part of your bandwidth to transmit your browsing activity to a remote source.
  • You think your data may have been stolen by spyware
If you find spyware on your system and you’re not sure how to protect yourself from possible data theft, we can work with you to identify and handle your data vulnerabilities. We’ll help you reset your critical passwords and help you identify other bricks and mortar services you’ll need to contact urgently.
Spyware is one of the worst kinds of malware. It invades your privacy and can cause major upheaval in your life. At Nerds On Call, we can help you strengthen your computer against spyware infection and we can help you eliminate the problem if you’re already infected.   Just call us on 1-800-919-6373 or fill out our simple contact form to remove spyware from your computer. We’ve got your back.   Spyware is just one kind of malicious software you might encounter out there. If you want to learn about other kinds of malware, here’s your source.  

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Questions nerds often hear about Remove Spyware

How did this spyware get on my computer?

There are a few ways spyware can infect your computer. You may have inadvertently clicked a link which installed the software. It may have been embedded in an email attachment which you opened. It can even infect your computer as part of installing commercial software, where you clicked ‘yes’ to suspect terms and conditions.

 

I’m worried my data has been stolen. What do I do?

The US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission both offer great resources through which you can learn more about identity theft. You can also contact us and we can offer you advice on first steps and how you can protect yourself in future.

 

If it’s so hard to detect, how do I know if I have spyware?

Spyware tries to stay hidden in the background, but can often cause problems. If your computer is running slowly; your home page, mouse pointer, or search engine changes; or you are redirected to websites you didn’t mean to go to, you could have spyware

What do they know about me?

It can often be impossible to tell what information an attacker has gathered via spyware. The only method is to change your passwords and remove the spyware