“In the field of computing, the term spyware refers to a broad category of software designed to intercept or take partial control of a computer’s operation without the informed consent of that machine’s owner or legitimate user.” [Source: Wikipedia]

So how do you know if your system has been taken over by spyware? Here are some the basic signs that your system has been compromised:

  1. Your system will slow to a crawl. Normal tasks will take forever to complete.
  2. Your CPU usage will jump to 50% or higher. (*see below on how to check your CPU usage)
  3. You experience excessive pop-up ads while surfing the Net.
  4. Your system will constantly try and make a Net connection when you are off-line.

(How to check your CPU usage: RIGHT click on your taskbar, that’s the bar located at the bottom of your screen and LEFT click on Task Manager then the Performance tab. CPU usage is listed towards the top.)

Now before you panic and see your CPU usage spiking at 100%, please be aware that most anti-virus programs are scheduled to perform a background check periodically through out the day or night on a set schedule. So check your CPU usage at various times. If it’s spiking at 100% and your computer is running slow, odds are you have been infected.

So what is the best way to clean my system if I have become infected? For the past five years I have been a member of the Lockergnome forum which consists of a group of dedicated folks from around the world who give of their time freely to solve computer related issues. Part of the service is a Free forum section that is maned by security experts that can assist you in spyware removal. You will need to provide a Hijack-This log file and post it in the forum. A sticky (it’s a help topic that explains where to get Hijack-This and how to post a log file) is provided. Lockergnome Spyware Help Section.

Next: More about spyware.

[tags]spyware, computer, CPU, system, Lockergnome, forum [/tags]