Once spyware and adware have installed themselves onto your computer, it can be nearly impossible to get rid of them. This is when you need an effective spyware cleaner. Used along with a spyware detector and a blocker, a spyware cleaner is the final step in the three-pronged protection process.
Spyware cleaner is software that removes spyware and adware from your computer system. Spyware is sneaky. Its goal is to install itself in your computer without your knowledge, making it difficult to hunt down and erase. Fortunately, there are a number of detector and blocker programs that are offered along with a spyware cleaner to prevent such a situation. Once on your computer, spyware can be difficult to clean out because it often hides among other files. Spyware rarely appears on your system's Add/Remove Programs menu and many people, especially computer novices, won't recognize the program as spyware even if they do find it. Sometimes they will skip right over it.
Spyware cleaner works by uninstalling and 'destroying' known components of spyware; it recognizes the code and is equipped to erase it from your computer. Out of a myriad of spyware cleaner programs, the two that people recognize the most often are called Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy .
Ad-Aware is published by LavaSoft and includes both a detector and cleaner that roots out and destroys even the most hard-to-find spyware. LavaSoft says, " Ad-Aware is designed to provide advanced protection from known Data-mining, aggressive advertising, Parasites, Scumware, selected traditional Trojans, Dialers, Malware, Browser hijackers, and tracking components." LavaSoft promises that Ad-Aware is able to protect against known and unknown variants; an important aspect when one considers the ability of spyware to easily be rewritten.
Spybot Search and Destroy software also hunts down and erases spyware that is installed on your computer. The online consumer reports site CNET.com, " Spybot offers a wealth of useful features and delivers handy tools such as an e-mail list of opt-out addresses so that you can stop unwanted solicitations. Search and Destroy also includes a file shredder to securely overwrite unwanted documents that get deleted from your PC." CNET.com points out that the standard edition of Ad-Aware does not have these same features. Spybot also cleans up usage tracks, which means that if you share a computer with another user, Spybot will remove anything you were working on, thus keeping your work confidential.
If you find that the programs you downloaded to block, detect and clean spyware are not working, consider a different brand or combination. Always be sure to update the programs that you use, as spyware is constantly evolving.