Below are just a few symptoms that may reveal that you have spyware operating on your computer.
- Sluggish computer: If you've noticed that your PC has had a serious drop in its responsiveness lately, it could mean that spyware is draining its computing power.
- New "favorites": Spyware will often add "favorites" of its own to your browser's favorites' folder. If you notice an unusual number of new favorites and are not sure how they got there, spyware may be to blame.
- Fishy pop-up ads: Pop-up ads from spyware software are designed to look like they've been served up by the legitimate Web site you're visiting. As a result, you may not recognize them as a symptom of infection. There's no way to be sure, but if the contents of the ads seem strange -- or if you're getting pop-up ads when you're not even surfing the Internet -- it's very likely that they are being served up by spyware software.
- Change of your default home page: One of the oldest spyware tricks is to automatically change your Web browser's default or start-up home page. This is the Web page that appears when you start your browser or click the "home" button.
- Unauthorized 1-900 number charges: If your phone bill charges you for 1-900 phone calls you didn't make, you may have fallen victim to a particularly devious form of spyware. These programs will hang-up your normal Internet connection and instruct your computer to dial a 1-900 number -- silently.