What Is Spyware?

by Jack Mason

The term “spyware” is commonly used, however it’s not always made clear what it means. So, what is spyware?

When you hear the term spyware, it is refering to programs or software that gets installed on your computer without your knowledge. These programs can cause all sorts of problems on your system – here are a few examples:

1) Steal your personal information. Spyware can “spy” on what files are on your computer and capture the passwords and other personal information you enter while you are online.

2) Install various programs to your computer without your authorization. These programs have no use to you but usually will let someone else monitor what you are doing online. This is one of the biggest reasons computers start to “slow down”.

3) When you are online, you are redirected to certain websites that have other harmful files such as viruses or other infections.

4) Sneak in and change your computer’s settings so that your computer is vulnerable to other attacks or infections.

In short, Spyware is nothing but ‘nuisanceware’!

Apart from the activity above, Spyware also slows down your Internet connection and make life miserable when you are surfing the Internet – many of those annoying pop-ups appearing out of nowhere are the result of spyware making its way on your system.

How does Spyware get into a computer?

It can be difficult to trace back exactly where spyware comes from, but here are some examples of how it can find its way onto your computer:

1) Many shareware and freeware software programs have Spyware built into them. Software such as music/video download programs are normally given away free, and sometimes they come bundled with Spyware.

2) Some software makers bundle Spyware with a program that they claim is a utility. For example, if you download a program (from some obscure website) that promises to accelerate your Internet speeds, then you can safely assume that such “utility” programs are loaded with Spyware.

3) One of the trickiest ways that spyware will make its way on your computer is by immitating your operating system’s regular messages.

For example, if you are using MS Windows, the Spyware manufacturer may develop a pop-up that looks exactly like a message from Microsoft. When you are browsing, this pop-up may entice you to click on it – and when you do that – presto; you’ve just opened the doors for the Spyware.

How can you tell if there’s Spyware on your computer?

One of the first warning signs is that your computer starts to run a lot slower than before and appears a little sluggish. Spyware will slow down your browsing speed and your overall computer’s performance.

Unfortunately, many people end up blaming their computer’s hardware if their system is running slower than usual. More often than not it is nothing hardware related – it is the fact that spyware has made its way onto their computer.

You have to take the right steps to kill Spyware now!

If you suspect computer is infected by Spyware, you have to move immediately and get it removed before it causes any more damage. There is Spyware in every nook and corner of the Internet, and chances are your computer is already host to several Spyware programs unless a quality anti-Spyware program is protecting your system.

Make sure you use a spyware remover that will scan your entire system for any existing infections, eliminate any malicious files it finds, and then provide full protection against future infections.

About the Author: