While the internet is a vast resource for all sorts of information, data, and other useful thingamajigs, there are aspects of it that aren’t so desirable. Viruses, for instance. They wreak havoc in your system, destroying files, crashing the operating system – generally making life much more difficult. But if you thought that viruses were the only nasty thing out there that you need protection from, think again. Adware (advertising software) and malware (malicious software) are types of harmful software called “spyware” that are not usually covered by anti-virus scans. While viruses affect your system directly, spyware runs in the background and transmits information about you through the ’net, which can be used a number of ways ranging from annoying to downright illegal. These dangers are often unnoticed by users since they don’t directly affect the computer’s operation the way viruses do. What’s more, many people confuse them with viruses, but they’re very different and should be handled differently. Lots of spyware can also slow down your computer, so it’s important to have anti-spyware programs installed on your computer to keep it free from these harmful invaders. There are many free spyware scanners and removers on the internet – simply download and install one, and then run it on a regular basis. Scanning for adware, spyware, and malware takes approximately the same time as doing a virus scan. Also, remember to update your scanners so that you have current definitions and less chance of overlooking new threats. Finally, we recommend that you refrain from visiting and downloading from unfamiliar websites since they could serve as hosts for both spyware and viruses.