A very good place to start to learn about sypware is the Tutorial section. Here is the link to a very good article:http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/understanding-spyware-browser-hijackers-and-dialers/
Having a resident antivirus with current definitions, and a firewall, iare the first steps. The article above will explain the different kinds of spyware, how they get on your computer, and recommends several very good (free) applications that will scan your hard drive and eliminate many different malware programs.
The forums are good places, also, to learn about various problems with spyware, and the home page usually contains notices about new vulnerabilities.
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