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How Does Spyware Get on Your Computer System

Jun 17, 2008
The Internet is a wonderful source of information and entertainment and millions of people access it each day. However, these millions of people create millions of opportunities for others with malicious intent to create havoc. And if you are not protecting yourself while you are online, you may find that your computer falls victim to spyware.

Spyware is a very lucrative industry and in almost all cases, the end goal is profit whether or not the companies or individuals deploying the spyware have any malicious intent in mind. Sometimes, you agree to allow spyware to access to your computer (whether knowingly or not) and other times you have no clue that your security has been breached. For this reason, it is imperative that you monitor your surfing habits to ensure that you are being as careful as possible.

Just in case you may not have any clue what spyware is, it can be generally defined as threatening software that is deployed by some unscrupulous individuals and companies to secure access to information you may rather keep private. In most instances, you are unaware that spyware has even made its way to your computer.

Do you access your banking online? Have you ever entered your social security number on any site? If you answered 'yes' to these questions, then you are especially vulnerable to spyware attacks. Spyware software enables its users to retrieve any information that resides on your machine - this could be anything from sensitive personal data to information about your surfing habits.

If the threat of a spyware infestation has you a bit nervous, you should be. The first thing that you should be concerned with is keeping it off of your computer in the first place, since some types of spyware can be virtually impossible to remove. And protecting yourself from the threat of spyware requires an understanding of how it gets on your computer.

There are endless ways for spyware to find its way onto your computer. One of the easiest ways for spyware to infest your machine is by piggybacking on other software applications - mainly those that are freely downloaded. So beware of that supposedly free software - it may be more expensive than you thought. Once you installed the infected software, you have just opened your hard drive up to spyware.

You should be extremely careful when you are reading disclosures are terms of use agreements whenever you are installing any type of free software on your computer. In most cases, your failure to read these agreements is your undoing since you are plainly agreeing to install other unwanted software in addition to the free software you downloaded. While many times you are warned via these agreements, sometimes you are not. So you download and install at your own risk.

Another popular way for spyware to find its way on your machine is to trick you into thinking that it is actually some type of anti-spyware or computer security program. Often this occurs when you visit a malicious website where known security issues in the browser you are using have been exploited. And suddenly you are receiving fake massages warning that your computer has been infected by spyware that direct you to download a program to rid yourself of the issue. By doing so, you further compromise the security of your computer. For this reason, it is imperative to make sure that your browser is updated with the latest security patches.
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