What is Spyware?
What is spyware?
Spyware is a type of malware (malicious software) that acquires personal information from your computer and reports it to another computer system or user without your knowledge or permission. Usually spyware is used by online businesses for marketing purposes. They use the spyware to obtain information about what hardware or software you have and the manufacturers. Sometimes spyware can obtain personal information on what sites you visit and if you do business with any competitors. They can also obtain your email address to sell to other companies causing an increase of Spam.
Spyware is rarely alone on your computer an affected machine usually had multiple infections.
Signs of an infection Include:
- Your computer slows to a crawl due to several spyware programs using up your memory resources.
- Ad pop up even when you are offline.
- You click on a link to go to one site, but your browser gets hijacked and you end up at another site.
- When you enter a search item, a new and unexpected site handles the search.
- Your bookmarks change on their own.
- You click your Home button but it takes you to a new site, and when you switch the setting back, the new site appears again anyway.
- You get pop-up ads that address you by name even when you have not visited site at which you have registered.
What are some common ways of aquiring spyware?
- Usually spyware is placed on a computer system in the form of internet cookies or programs that are set to run when your computer starts. Spyware cookies can be avoided by disabling cookies within your browser, but a lot websites such as Hotmail and Online Stores require cookies to be enabled to login to the site.
- Some websites automatically install spyware on your computer when you visit them. A popup will display on your screen and then the installation will either prompt you to accept installation or it will automatically initiate without your consent.
- Some free software and ad-supported software are supported by spyware and install the spyware when you install the free software One example is Kazaa’s default installation.
How to deal with Spyware?
There are two different programs that you can download to help fight spyware. Spybot – Search and Destroy and Super Anti Spyware. Both of these are free programs that search your computer for spyware, uninstall it. These programs can also help prevent anymore known spyware from being placed on your computer. These programs will need to be updated from time to time to look for new spyware.
These programs can be downloaded from Google or provided from the Helpdesk onto your laptop or on a flashdrive.