How does spyware get into your computer?
Over the years I have fixed literally hundreds of computers and I usually find that their homepages have been replaced by MyWebSearch or other search engines, or that a number of useless toolbars have been embedded into their browsers. But where does this kind of spyware come from?
Most of the time, spyware gets into your computer whenever you download and install free games or other free programs. When downloading any free software (even Java, Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader) be sure to read all of the pages and prompts carefully. Most often you will see something else “pre-checked” to be installed into your browser automatically. Unless you specifically “un-check” the box that wants to install the excess software, it will install along with the actual software that you wanted. Overall, it’s very sneaky and subtle, and you may miss it if you install things in a hurry.
This hub describes a number of well-known spyware sources that I have encountered while cleaning up people’s computers, make note of them and beware!