It was most likely infected by downloading music or video or a program from an unsafe website or clicking on an attachment to an email or a picture or even clicking on an unsafe website.  This might have happened because of something you intended to do or it might have happened without you being aware. 


Let's begin by clarifying.  Viruses can look and act like spyware and spyware can look and act like a virus.  So let's be more specific.

  1. Spyware secretly collects information for internet businesses that operate in a criminal manner.  It can change your web browser's home page and search settings, popup ads, and make it difficult or impossible to change them back.
  2. Dangerous downloads appear to be safe but can run malicious programs. 
  3. Drive-by downloads can download and run spyware, viruses, or even take control of your computer all without any action on your part other than visiting a website.
  4. Phishers trick you into giving confidential information to a fraudulent web site.  I had one that posed as a bank site but took me to a completely different site in Canada.  Firefox informed me that the site was fraudulent.
  5. Keyloggers record your key presses for passwords, financial information and more.
  6. Viruses interfere with your operating system.  They also are spread from computer to computer.


The best way to prevent them is to never visit an unsafe website or open an email attachment.  But, no one is going to take those measures so here are some excellent tips that will keep me from having to arduously remove a virus or spyware infestation.

  1. Always use the best Internet Security product.  I recommend Norton 360.
  2. Always keep your operating system and other programs up to date.  These include your email program, your web browser, Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, Sun Java, and other programs that you may use on your computer. 
  3. Do not use file-sharing programs such as Limewire and Bearshare.  Besides exposing you to viruses and spyware, it is illegal and immoral and unethical to use music or video that you have not paid for. 
  4. Do not visit porn sites.  This is a multi-billion dollar business and you become part of the problem by contributing to the porn industry every time you visit one of those sites, in addition to opening your computer to spyware and viruses.  If you cannot stop visiting porn sites, install parental controls and have someone else set the password.
  5. Do not visit hacker sites.  Hackers routinely offer free software that contains virus or spyware files.  Why else do you think they would offer it for free?   Buy the software you need from a store or a legitimate website.

These are some basic things you can do.   They will save you money in the long run.