One of the reasons that spyware is spread so quickly is because of all the free downloads which have spyware software bundled in with them. Obviously, many people are not willing to pay for software- especially antispyware software. Luckily, there is now a lot of free antispyware software available.
One of the ways to get free antispyware software is simply to download it from the internet. However, it is very common that the free antispyware software actually comes with spyware bundled in with it. You can read the next chapter to find out about this risk. Here is a list of some of the best antispyware software programs available for free online.
Free Spyware Protection
- Windows Defender: Before any software can be installed, it has to pass a Windows Genuine Advantage test. This antispyware software works in real time. It takes up little running space and can be put on a schedule for scanning a computer system. However, it is not the best choice of software for stopping all spyware.
- Spybot Search & Destroy: This is one of the most well-known antispyware software programs. It has been around since 2000 and is regularly updated. It has an immunization feature which will add malicious sites to your Restricted Sites list to protect you in case your computer is hijacked and taken to a harmful site.
- Ad-Aware: Ad-Aware is another one of the most popular free antispyware software. It can be downloaded for free. However, there is also a commercial version of Ad-Aware which offers even higher levels of protection. It also includes antivirus.
- AVG Anti-Spyware Free Edition: AVG is popular became popular as antivirus software and now has created antispyware software as well. There is a commercial and a free version available. AVG is one of strongest in terms of overall computer protection. However, like all free antispyware software, it does not contain a built-in firewall.
- Avast! antivirus Home Edition: This software is a combination of antivirus, antispyware and anti-rootkit. It is made for Windows and is free for home use.
- Panda Cloud Antivirus: This program also includes antispyware
- Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool: Called MSRT for shot, this software is available for free so long as your Windows is genuine. There are free monthly updates of MSRT available for users on the first Tuesday of each month.
- Comodo Internet Security: The Comodo company makes several software programs including antispyware, antivirus, and a firewall. You can download each of these separately for maximum protection. There is also a paid version called Comodo Internet Security Pro. Comodo is one of the strongest when it comes to battling computer infections. However, the software may be a bit difficult for beginners to operate and the free version doesn’t have any customer support.
- Spyware Blaster: This software does not remove spyware infections. Its goal is to prevent spyware infection and has a list of thousands of malicious sites which can be added to your Restricted Sites list. It also has a feature which will allow you to lock your Internet Explorer homepage so it can’t be altered.
Free Spyware Removal Tools
- SuperAntiSpyware: If you already have a spyware infection, this software has been reported as effective in removing the spyware.
- HijackThis: This freeware utility works a bit differently than most spyware removal tools because it doesn’t just perform a simple scan based on a list of spyware. Instead, it scans the computer and looks for all suspicious items. Then, HijackThis will ask the user what to do with those items. Users should be very careful while using HijackThis to not delete any useful or essential items.
- Removal Restrictions Tool: Also known as RRT, this tool is used to restore permissions in situations where spyware has locked users from the Control Panel, Task Manager or Regedit.
There are a lot more free antispyware programs available with new ones constantly becoming available. However, it is important to note that many of these are not completely effective in preventing or removing spyware. Usually, they each have a few loopholes which spyware makers are aware of and exploit.
One way to get around the loopholes is to use multiple free antispyware software programs at once. What one program misses will generally be picked up by another program. The only real downside to this method is that using multiple antispyware programs can make your computer run slower.
Also, it needs to be pointed out that many of the free antispyware which is advertised online is actually rogue antispyware. This software actually contains spyware which will infect your computer.