Think you’re protected because you’ve got a firewall and an anti-virus tool installed on your PC? Think again – malware has evolved to become big business for hackers and cyber criminals, all intent on stealing personal data through spyware, browser hijacking and fake (phishing) emails and websites.

Although many anti-virus programs now include anti-spyware protection, their rates of detection and removal are hit and miss. Spyware Doctor consistently outperforms other anti-spyware programs when it comes to both spotting and cleaning your PC of spyware. Many free anti-spyware tools can only scan your PC on demand, but Spyware Doctor offers real-time protection, helping prevent infection from occurring in the first place.

Spyware Doctor’s update feature ensures it’s updated on a daily basis to spot the latest threats, while an additional layer of protection is offered through ThreatFire Behavioral Intelligence, which blocks unknown threats based on their suspicious behaviour. It can also detect and remove hidden threats such as rootkits.

The program also uses IntelliGuard technology to prevent you from being bombarded with cryptic questions about trusted processes – it ensures you only get alerted when a spyware infection has been found, making it the perfect tool for any PC user, not just experts.

This is the latest 2012 edition, which includes Scam Alerts: these "protect against the latest cybercrime schemes like “get rich quick” offers and fake antivirus “scareware” that trick people into divulging confidential information". And the new Malicious Site Monitoring "guards against exploits that cybercriminals often target like the latest movie trailers and breaking news headlines".

Please note, this trial version will scan for and detect threats, but won't remove any until you've purchased a licence.

PC Tools Spyware Doctor 2012 v9.1 is now Windows 8 compatible. It's also worth noting that PC Tools have removed the "2012" branding on their products.

Verdict ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings

One of the better commercial anti-spyware tools will keep your system safe and secure