Spyware is only one of the many different types of threats that go up against computers these days and some of them are actually quite severe in terms of the type of impact they can have on a person.
Even a well protected computer can fall victim to one of numerous threats. The results are anything from a slowed down computer to actual theft of information and identity. One of the most feared types of these are programs known as spyware.
So What Is It?
Spyware is a program that gets installed on a person’s computer without their knowledge. It operates behind the scenes, never revealing itself to the computer’s user.
While it is operating it essentially spies, as the name implies.
The things that are actually being spied on aren’t consistent from one application to the next. As it collects the information though, it reports back covertly so that a third-party can take whatever they need from the information.
What Does It Affect…
Virtually anything that’s done on the computer. Some forms of spyware will pretty much go after everything a user does while on their computer. To do this it will actually record every key press made, thereby being able to record user-names and passwords as well as the content of email messages and typed documents.
Other applications will track what websites a user goes to, information that could be used to various benefits.
Why Not All Spyware Is Bad
At least, not necessarily. It depends on how you’d define bad and what kind of information you’re willing to give up. Often, free software that’s completely legitimate will support itself through advertising.
To do this best, many of these programs add a form of spyware onto a computer that allows them to track the types of sites a user visits, thereby knowing what the best ads to display are.
Generally speaking users are warned about this feature before any installation is made, so they can choose to opt out or just not install.
The Ways This Gets Onto Your Computer
This type of computer threat rarely works in the same way as a virus. It doesn’t try to spread or duplicate itself from one machine to the next. Instead it finds its way onto computers through misrepresentation or via holes in a software application.
As in the case of the shareware and freeware examples above, the spyware makes its way onto a computer by being packaged with another software application, and often the users trusts and agrees to its terms.
It’s Not Always Covert
One of the biggest fears is that it doesn’t make itself known. For the longest time computer attacks were all about causing visible damage, but this type of infection isn’t usually after that and has long-term goals instead.
That said, when malicious spyware is packed with malicious Adware, the result is a long string of pop up ads on a computer screen. In those cases the user will instantly know they have spyware and will have to take the necessary steps in dealing with it.
Use a trusted spyware removal program such as BullGuard Internet Security.