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Things You Should Know About Spyware

Dec 1, 2007
Most people who have spyware on their computers and laptops do not even realize it. The spyware lurks in the background doing it deeds within the shadows of their computer's hard drives.

Sadly, most are unaware of what spyware can do, the types of damage it can potentially cause and measures that can be taken to protect yourself from these annoying programs.

This article will offer answers that will clarify what spyware is and tips you can use to protect yourself from spyware in the future.

What Exactly Is Spyware?

Spyware are computer programs that exist on your computer's hard drive. They come in a variety of types and flavors. Some spyware simply lurk in the shadows of your hard drive, watching your browser and taking notes of which websites you visit.

Often, it then communicates what it finds to other parties by using your internet access. Other spyware watch and take note of your keystrokes whenever you visit a financial services website.

Knowing as "keyloggers," this type of spyware then sends your sensitive financial information (including your username and passwords) to other parties across the internet.

How Does Spyware Get Installed?

Most often, spyware is downloaded through the internet. Sometimes, the download occurs when a user knowingly downloads another piece of software and the spyware is attached and enjoys a "free ride" on the user's hard drive. Other times, spyware can be downloaded by visiting websites.

Known as "drive by's," these downloads happen automatically without the user's permission once a user has simply visited a particular website.

Is Spyware Dangerous?

While not all spyware is necessarily dangerous, it does represent a risk because of the damage it is capable of doing.

For example, the spyware that watches your keystrokes when you visit financial websites and then communicates this data to other unknown parties exposes you and your financial livelihood to risk.

These other parties can then potentially access your bank, investment and loan accounts online without your knowledge or permission, wreaking havoc. Other types of spyware can actually gain control of your computer and distribute that control to other parties.

As a result, unknown parties can potentially gain access to any sensitive data on your hard drive.

How Can Your Protect Your Computer From Spyware?

The most effective way to protect you and your computer from spyware is to use a computer program that is designed specifically to identify and get rid of such bugs.

Such programs include the well-regarded Spybot - Search and Destroy software. These types of programs are increasingly helpful as spyware creators become more savvy.

Some spyware tries to mask or disguise its presence on your hard drive by appearing as an anti-spyware program. That can make them difficult to identify and remove.

Fortunately, dedicated programs like Spybot are constantly updated with the latest version of spyware that are being circulated. This allows it to keep up with new spyware, helping it to easily identify and remove them.

If you have never scanned your system, there is a good chance that you have a spyware program lurking on your hard drive. It could be relatively benign, content to simply exist.

Or, it could be maliciously communicating your sensitive data to outside parties. Use a dedicated spyware removal program such as Spybot - Search and Destroy to get rid of these bugs before they cause any significant damage.
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