You might think we're exaggerating when we say that spyware poses a serious threat to your system, but if you want a good example of why it's important to have antispyware software on your PC, read on.
PC Advisor has been around for 10 years or so and we consider ourselves to be reasonably tech-savvy. Every year we renew our subscriptions to Norton Internet Security, and we run antivirus scans pretty regularly.
We're careful about the websites we visit and take just about every precaution we can to prevent anyone else getting information out of our systems. We're cautious, careful, experienced PC users.
But when we installed and ran SpyCatcher 3.5 on one of our home PCs - which, by the way, was an incredibly easy and painless process - we found more than 20 things that could have been spyware or malicious files of some sort. Okay, so not all of them were - in fact there were only a couple of genuinely dangerous items. But it goes to show just how easily things can get into your system even if you think you know it inside-out.
By now we all know what spyware is about. At best, it is an appalling invasion of privacy. At worst, it can lead to the loss of your money and confidential data. This version of SpyCatcher comes with anti-phishing protection that will warn when your data is at risk. It also alerts you when you are presented with a web page that isn't all it seems.
Spyware, trojans and adware programs are dealt with first when you run SpyCatcher 3.5 on your PC. It informs you about the level of risk they pose. Even though these programs are largely used to observe people's surfing habits, it's still best to remove them altogether. Once these have been either scrapped or kept - and the choice is yours - SpyCatcher moves on to alerting you to the presence of suspicious files.
The major problem for SpyCatcher 3.5 is that it is going to be up against the full version of Microsoft's Windows AntiSpyware when it comes out - which should be around about the time you read this. If the rumours are true and it is going to be available for free, then the £25 you'll pay for SpyCatcher will suddenly seem like a lot of money.