Anti-spyware software is a tool created with an intention to protect user’s computer from spyware-type threats, but in most cases, these programs can detect and eliminate malware and even the most dangerous computer viruses, so sometimes they surpass simple anti-virus programs that can identify and remove only the most dangerous viruses. Spyware-type computer infections typically do not damage the computer system and are not as dangerous as malware-type threats, but they can spy on the computer user and collect sensitive information, both personally identifiable and also personally non-identifiable. Besides, spyware programs can be used for market research, collect data that reveals user’s interests and display various commercial offers later on. There are thousands of such programs, and developers of antivirus software typically concentrate on more dangerous malware examples rather than adding thousands of less-dangerous threats to the database of the security program. Therefore, the anti-spyware program can provide useful features that the majority of antivirus tools cannot.
What are the differences between anti-spyware and antivirus programs?
There are many different computer protection and maintenance tools, and it can be hard to choose the right ones. Antivirus and anti-spyware programs have a lot in common, and they both are designed to clean the system from unwanted or even harmful programs. However, the range of programs they can detect is slightly different. Antivirus programs are usually programmed to detect malicious computer programs that initiate illegal activities on victim’s computer system. They can detect ransomware, Trojans, worms, rootkits, and similar malicious software. Contrary to many users’ beliefs, not all unpleasant or annoying computer programs are viruses and that is why the antivirus cannot identify that annoying application that sends you hundreds of pop-up ads. This is where anti-spyware software comes in handy. This type of computer software can protect the computer from adware, browser hijackers, system tools, as well as malicious viruses as well, and that is why computer security experts recommend choosing anti-spyware instead of anti-virus. Some spyware programs can be easily removed manually, but some are stubborn and can hide their components deeply in the system. However, computer security experts agree that the best choice is to protect the computer with a dual power of a trustworthy anti-malware and anti-spyware program.
Spyware and malware examples that anti-spyware programs can remove
Spyware removal tools are capable of detecting and removing more powerful computer viruses, not only potentially unwanted programs. In fact, the range of programs that anti-spyware programs can identify and remove is wide and below you can see some examples of applications that can be detected by anti-spyware tools.
Browser hijackers. Browser hijackers belong to spyware category and are known as annoying pieces of software that mainly affect Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and IE. When spyware programs infect a web browser, they change homepage settings as well as default new tab page preference in order to launch a particular page. Browser hijackers typically promote bogus search engines that provide a mixture of organic and sponsored search results. These search tools cannot be trusted because they can redirect you to hazardous Internet websites.
Rogue anti-spyware programs. As we have already mentioned, the Internet offers a variety of computer maintenance tools, and some of them cannot be trusted. Rogue anti-spyware programs promise to protect the computer and remove threats, but in reality, they can hardly do it. Such programs often display tons of pop-ups urging the victim to purchase the full version of the software in order to fix “issues.”
Ransomware. Ransomware is a serious menace to computer users who do not have a security software or data backups. This type of malware usually blocks access to the PC or encrypts files with military-grade encryption to make them inaccessible and then leaves a ransom note, which tells the victim that he/she needs to pay a ransom to get access to the computer or personal files again. Although ransomware belongs to malware category, anti-spyware programs can easily detect and remove them.
Adware. Ad-supported programs are sneaky tools that silently monitor user’s activity online, gather needed information and later on use it for marketing purposes. Typically, adware programs serve third-party ads based on user’s search queries, browsing history, geolocation of the computer, and similar data. Sadly, ads that are powered by adware programs cannot be trusted because they can lead users to harmful websites.
A good anti-spyware program can detect and remove spyware and malware programs, but sometimes such program might not successfully remove all computer threats. It can happen in case it lacks updates, which need to be added as soon as a new one shows up. Remember that neither anti-spyware nor antivirus programs cannot identify and remove a certain virus until its database gets filled with the latest malware definitions, so do not forget to update your computer protection program from time to time. It is highly advisable to run a scan right after updating the program.
How to choose the right anti-spyware program?
Although every computer security tool promises to provide the best protection, it is clear that it is not true. We recommend you to browse through computer security related sites and see what tools they recommend using. Later on, we recommend you to look for information on various forums where users discuss computer protection software. You should never install computer programs before looking for information about them online – this rule applies to absolutely every computer user. No matter if you are looking for an antivirus, anti-spyware or just a free game to download, research it first. Otherwise, instead of adding a useful program, you can end up with a rogue tool that has no beneficial features and also initiates unpleasant activities on the system. You can find a list of rogue anti-spyware programs here.
However, there is a significant number of legitimate and trustworthy computer protection programs that can recognise spyware and malware infections and clean them up quickly. You can find a list of legitimate software in Programs page on our site. The software that our team recommends using is Reimage – we have analysed this program and discovered that it can remove the latest dangerous software examples and also optimise the computer. Besides, it provides a friendly user interface, which makes it an easy-to-use product. You can download and try this program for free to test its capabilities.
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Additional information added on 2016-10-27