Guide 2 Spyware - Detect & Remove Spyware
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Guide 2 Spyware > False Positives
Spyware False Positives
Anti-spyware software is designed to detect and remove spyware, but like all software it may perfect. One particular problem that you may encounter is "false positives", this is where the anti-spyware software indicates (and believes) it has detected spyware, but when none is in fact present on your system.
The false-positives problem arises because anti-spyware software uses heuristics (rules based on previous experience) to detect particular spyware programs. These may heuristics may include looking for particular file names, or particular sequences of data in memory or on disk, to detect if spyware is present. While these heuristic methods are usually fairly reliable at detecting spyware, it is possible for the same file name or the same sequence of bytes to occur for totally innocuous reasons in non-spyware software.
For this reason, if your anti-spyware software tells you that an apparently reputable program contains spyware, it may be a good idea to check with both the vendor of the program and the manufacturers of the anti-spyware software, to check it really is the case and not just a false positive. When anti-spyware software vendors are informed of a suspected false positive, they are usually able to quickly determine if it is indeed an actual false positive, and if necessary adjust their heuristics accordingly.
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