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Outsmarting Spyware
Do pop-ups plague your computer? Follow these five steps to end the infestation.
My sister's computer was possessed. Pop-ups filled the screen, flashing dire warnings such as “Security Alert. Windows has detected 10 spyware programs running on your computer. Click here to remove them.”

Though the warnings looked official, the computer could have suffered major damage had I fallen for these devious entreaties. As I closed windows, more popped up, turning the screen into a game of Whack-a Mole. Worst of all, some windows refused to close, making it impossible to access the Web sites we wanted to visit.

Prolific pop-ups signal a spyware or adware infection. These programs sneak onto your computer and collect information about you, mostly for advertising purposes. Spyware can record keystrokes, passwords and browser history, and relay that data to its author without your knowledge. Adware works much the same way, and produces annoying pop-up ads as you surf the Net.

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