It's frightening but true; computer bugs, especially spyware and adware, are multiplying and making it more difficult every minute to protect your computer. When trying to defend your system against spyware, your best bet is to enlist the aid of three different types of spyware programs: a spyware blocker, a detector, and a cleaner.
It is necessary to use all three types of programs (rather than one program like an all-encompassing virus scan), because spyware does not work the same way as a virus does. While one virus scan might cover a variety of bugs, spyware code is easily rewritten, resulting in several different 'strains' of the same bug. A major component of spyware is that it invades your computer without your knowledge, so your system might already be infected by the time you decide to install protection. Most programs do offer all three options, but be sure and check that it is indeed what you are receiving.
The first step in preventing infection is to install a spyware blocker. Spyware blockers work by preventing spyware and adware from ever installing itself on your computer in the first place. A blocker does not scan for or eliminate spyware; it simply acts as the first wall of defense against spyware installation. The blocker actually contains a database of recognized malicious code that it checks the suspected spyware against. If the code matches up, then the program blocks it.
Spyware has become such a problem that even the large online services such as America Online have decided to a target it in the battle to keep unsuspecting users safe. Yahoo! designed a spyware blocker for its toolbar called the Anti-Spy for Yahoo! Toolbar. The feature will allow the toolbar users to scan and delete any lurking spyware applications. America Online has also gone after spyware by bundling a spyware blocker, detector and cleaner into its AOL 9.0 Optimized software. EarthLink, based in Atlanta , offers software called Spyware Blocker in its TotalAccess package. EarthLink's program also includes a detector and cleaner.
It is still possible to protect your computer if you do not use the services offered by the large online companies, there are plenty of options out there. Javacool Software offers a free downloadable program (or 'freeware') called SpywareBlaster 3.2 . Javacool Software describes their program as "the most powerful anti-spyware protection solution anywhere." However, there are a number of programs that promise to block, detect or clean your computer of spyware. The best advice? Do your research or ask a professional, but be aware that you need a combination of all three types to best protect your computer.