Hack & Attacks

What is Spyware – Explained

Spyware is a type of software intended to collect information from computers without permission of the user and then send that stolen information over the Internet to the spyware designer. The type of information collected varies greatly. It can be something as simple and harmless as transmitting your browsing habits to compromising your security by retrieving your passwords and credit card numbers. The program usually tries to hide itself from the user in an attempt to gather as much personal information before the user realizes that his security was compromised.

All Spyware Programs are Dangerous and should be Removed Immediately upon Detection.

Connections Between Spyware & Adware

Most adware collects information about the user to display targeted ads, but the difference between spyware and adware is clear (though there is a twilight zone between the two):

* Typical spyware installs without asking the user for permission,

* Spyware does not provide information on what data it collects and to whom it is sent,

* Spyware usually operates by deceiving the user and pretending to be other programs rather than spyware. There are many spyware programs that even pretend be spyware removers,

* Spyware often tries to download and install additional malicious modules (adware and spyware alike),

* Spyware does not usually allow easy uninstalation,

* Spyware modules are often loaded by specialized web pages designed to inject spyware into your computer’s system,

As the result, spyware poses a significant threat to your system’s security and is often able to cause you to lose your life savings. It is recommended that you destroy any spyware you find right away.

Spyware – Caused Problems

In addition to outright security breaches such as the transmission of your personal data to the spyware designers and stealing your money via a stolen credit card number, spyware often causes other severe problems. They may include:

* Slowing down your PC, often to the point where it is no longer usable,

* Causing frequent crashes’ because of the interactions between spyware programs and the system,

* Creating a complete mess in the system registry, often requiring some complex restore operation after spyware is removed.

Protecting your System from Spyware Infections

The defense against spyware may not rely only on a single tool, even if it is the best in its category. In order to stay clean of spyware infections, you should do the following:

* Purchase a spyware removal tool such as STOPzilla and perform scans at least once a week. If the program allows real-time protection, enable it,

* Use a firewall such as ZoneAlarm Pro or Outpost Firewall Pro to monitor the incoming and outgoing network traffic. Firewalls are able to prevent many stealthy spyware installations as well as keeping spyware blocked on your PC until you find a way to remove it,

* Watch where you go and do not follow links blindly, especially if they arrive via email,

* If you’ve reached your wit’s end, consider changing your favorite browser. Most spyware relies on Internet Explorer and Windows. If you switch to Mozilla Firefox, for example, a lot of spyware won’t be able to install at all.

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