Spyware includes unwanted computer programs that run on your computer without your knowledge or permission. Also known as spybots and tracking software, spyware tracks your online activities and collects personal information from your system. The gathered information is then sent to the spyware operator who is frequently a hacker or scammer. Hackers can then sell or use your information for monetary gain.
You might not even realize that you have spyware on your computer, and even when you find your spyware, you're unlikely to know what of your information is vulnerable. Spyware can connect a range of information including your habits, passwords, account information, social security number, or credit card details. Spyware cannot be regulated and reduces your computer's memory, bandwidth, and outbound modem use. Spyware can also copy your licensed software to a scammer's computer offsite.
When your computer is infected with spyware, the speed and the performance of your system reduces. Your personal preferences including your homepage, bookmarks, and browser will also change. You may also start receiving pop-up advertisements and infected spam mails frequently. AntiVirus2009.exe, AV2009.exe, Smart Virus 2009.exe, Antvrs.exe, AntvrsInstall.exe, Win32/Virut.NBK, and SpywareQuake.exe are spyware infections in Windows computers.
Companies that manufacture spyware claim that spyware is legitimate and safe and can be used for market research and demographic analysis. In actuality, spyware benefits nobody. Spyware only hurts the end user.
How It Works
Spyware can be installed in your system in several ways. You might click a link on a pop up window, or accidentally install spyware that is packaged with other software. A website might automatically install spyware on your computer. You may encounter a standard message from your browser asking you if you would like to install the software in your system. With low security settings, you may not be prompted, and spyware will download to your system automatically.
Spyware is sometimes installed as part of a software package. Some peer sharing software programs like Lime Wire, Kazaa, Bearshare, and eDonkey automatically install spyware with their program. The other mode through which spyware is installed in your system is through browser add-ons, which are enhancements to your web browser like tool bars, animations, or search boxes.
Once these malicious programs are installed in your system, they can take control of your computer and send out spyware, viruses, and destructive files. Make sure that you protect yourself with a strong firewall and anti-spyware software. Make sure that you download only legitimate software from trusted sources.
Spyware Terminator, Microsoft Windows Defender, SuperAntiSpyware, Symantec, and Spyware Blaster provide resources to protect consumers against spyware.