Like antivirus and firewall software, spyware protection is an essential tool in the avid internet-surfer's armoury. Like it or not, spend a fair amount of time online and at some point you're going to pick up some spyware - hidden applications that secretly monitor your activities and send them back to the mothership without your permission.
The market is awash with antispyware products, including some solid free offerings. Acronis has attempted to stand out from the crowd by combining file shredding with spyware detection and eradication.
Delete a file in Windows and it may be gone from view, but traces of it remain on your hard drive. The standard delete operation merely marks the area of the disk as free space that can subsequently be used. The data contained in the file will remain until the area is actually
used to store something else.
Privacy Expert combats this with eight different methods of wiping the data - from simply overwriting the space with zeros to writing random data to the affected area 35 times. This ensures there's no chance of the information being recovered.
This data-destruction process can be applied to your internet history, system data, application activity, individual files or even entire hard drives. The latter is useful if you intend to sell or give away an old PC or drive.
Spyware detection consists of the standard system scan, which looks for any programs already installed, combined with monitoring to prevent new ones climbing onboard. A year's worth of spyware updates is included. Further cover costs more, although at this stage it isn't clear how much.