Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What Is A Spyware

What is Spyware?
Spyware is a computer software programme that is installed clandestinely on to a personal computer without the user's knowledge, to collect personal data and information. This data is sent to advertisers or criminals.

What does Spyware do?
It follows your every movement on the net, just like video cameras follow your movements in the real world at shopping malls, banks, etc. It slyly scrutinizes the user's internet activities and collects various personal information .

Why does Spyware spy on you?
To relay the gathered information to advertisers or other interested parties. Some spyware even record your keystrokes and analyze your password when you next log in to your bank accounts.

How does Spyware sneak into your computer?
Mostly it comes bundled with free software downloaded from the internet. It can originate by clicking on some option in a deceptive pop-up window or from an unscrupulous web site. It can be placed onto your computer remotely by hackers.

What are the symptoms of spyware infection?
Spyware unlike virus does not duplicate itself to other machines. But it slows down the computer and bombards you with pop-up advertisements, even when you are offline. Spyware can change computer settings and home pages.

How to protect yourself from Spyware?
Download and install anti spyware softwares like Ad-aware and SpyBot Search and Destroy which scans your computer, detects and removes the spyware. Sometimes by removing certain spyware, the software which originally installed it might become disabled.

Here are a few helpful tips to avoid Spyware.

*Download programs only from trusted web sites.
*Read all security warnings, privacy statements, and license agreements carefully before downloading free software.
*Never click "OK" or "agree" to close a window. Instead, click the red "x" in the corner top of the window or press the Alt + F4 buttons to close a window.
*Be cautious of popular free movie and music file-sharing programs.
*Do not trust sites that offer pirated programs or adult sites that offer free content. These sites are spyware enticement.
*Install a firewall. It provides a helpful defence against hackers.

Spyware is unlike Adware which is installed with the users permission. Many popular web browsers now have security settings that curb spyware from being installed. The security level should be set to at least medium which is the default setting.

This article was published by Laila Rajaratnam at Helium.Com

Copyright © 2008-2009 Laila Rajaratnam. All Rights Reserved.

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