To many people out there, spyware is just a word that’s tossed around.
They know it’s something they don’t want on their computers but they don’t quite understand why. If you are one of those who don’t yet understand the workings of spyware and how to deal with it, then take a look at this short list of frequently asked questions.
What Is Spyware?
The term actually gets applied rather broadly these days, so pinning it down to an exact definition isn’t all that easy. The important thing to grasp is that it’s an executable application that gets installed on a computer without the user’s knowledge. It then records and reports on various activities that are done on the computer.
What Are The Sorts Of Things Spyware Will Track?
Spyware often tracks the websites that are visited and uses the information to display popup ads that appear due to the unwanted installation of adware. It could also record everything typed on the computer, which would give the person collecting the information access to everything from passwords to documents.
In that same way it could also steal banking and credit card information.
Who Actually Creates Spyware?
While things like computer viruses were once created by pranksters and those who simply wanted to wreak havoc, spyware is more closely related to those with actual criminal intents. Criminal organizations are now known to regularly create this type of program for the purposes of identity theft and robbery and fraud.
The type of spyware related to popup ads, however, are made and distributed by marketing companies, often with misled consent.
What’s The Worst Spyware Can Do To Me?
Well, it won’t jump out and kill you but it can still hurt in a great number of ways. Spyware can use the information it steals from you to take money right out of your bank account or to purchase goods on your credit card.
On the lighter side of things, it can end up hurting your computer’s performance, slowing down its operation by running in the background. You may even find your computer starts to crash regularly.
How Does Spyware Get On My Computer If It’s Not A Virus?
Some spyware is in fact distributed as a virus and in turn it manages to spread and duplicate itself. This means your computer can get infected through sharing of disks or surfing the net. Most often though, it will get to your computer through actions you do yourself after being deceived.
For instance, an add will promise a great free software program and when you install it you unknowingly install spyware along with it.
How Do I Get Rid Of Spyware?
As it’s not a virus, it isn’t gotten rid of through the use of traditional antivirus software; though, most present day antivirus software comes with built in spyware protection as well. There are also applications designed specifically for finding and eliminating spyware, and most web browsers try to do their share of battling it as well.