A survey taken in 2005 concluded that 90 percent of all computers contain at least one type of Spyware! Many computer users do not know what Spyware is or how it can affect them personally. Once the threat is understood, steps can be taken to prevent further infestation. Spyware is a software package that installs itself into a computer and hides itself neatly away so it is hard to detect. It may also use another program as a shield so the common computer user does not know of its existence.
It may be easier for you if you image that Spyware looks like an everyday spider that tucks itself into your software. Once lodged, its legs penetrate the wires in your computer that carry data from your computer to the internet. Once the connection is established, it begins to siphon private information.
There is a lot of information Spyware can accumulate and send back to its creator. The extent of data that is being retrieved depends solely on what the creator wants from you. There are a lot of Spyware programs that extract information on your shopping habits, or your Internet browsing choices. This is a mild Spyware that wasn’t created for malicious purposes, but these bugs can also obtain more personal information about you. There are people who sell names, addresses and phone numbers to telemarketing firms. A Hacker may develop a Spyware program to copy your contact lists and email addresses of family and friends. Or if that isn’t enough they can be made to obtain your credit card information, banking information, passwords, and identity information.
So the less information that you store and access, the less information Spyware can obtain. However, if your computer is being used like everyone else, then all of the information listed in the paragraph above and more is stored in your computer and is potentially open to Spyware.
We hope you find this scary and invasive, because it is. Your privacy can be taken away without you being aware of it. This is worse than house robbery!
In the event you have these little electronic bugs in your system, there are a few telltale signs to help: There is a sudden drop in performance speed. You are suddenly low on memory and resources. Pop-up ads appear when you are off-line. Your hard drive is constantly working even if you are not working on the computer. It takes much longer to start up the computer. Components of Windows aren’t working normally. Common applications you use every day suddenly aren’t working properly. Your internet browser setting has changed like your home page and search pages. Odd favorites appear in your bookmarks or favorite’s folder.
Any or all of the items listed may indicate Spyware. What you need is protection and that starts with an antispyware program to provide your system with real-time protection. Many experts do recommend running two types of Spyware programs, one to run in the background at all times, the other to scan your system once a week to find what the first one missed.
If you have a Windows based operating system, you may not need to purchase two independent products. Many versions of Windows come with an anti-spyware program called Windows Defender. This is a good backup program. There is a ton of anti-spyware programs on the market and you will find the industries top leaders in most computer Magazines.
Whatever you do, try to stay away from “free” downloads on the internet. Nothing in this world is “free” unless the other party is gaining something for giving something away. What many companies get from you is permission to install a Spyware program. This does not mean all companies are out to steal your personal information, but they will sneak information pertaining to your shopping and spending and browsing habits. So make sure you purchase your product from a reputable company, even the cheapest program on the market is a lot safer than downloading a “free” program.
With this in mind, you can prevent additional problems by being aware of what you do and what you download online. There are plenty of tricky ways companies snag even the most experienced internet users. Don’t fall victim to their sly games. Avoid clicking on pop-up ads, even if they tell you that it has detected a virus on your system. These ads are games to get you to click on the ad. Once you do, you just gave them access to your drives. Do not open emails from people you do not know, and never click on any links in emails even if you know the person because they may have forwarded something to you that contained Spyware. Run a check on the email first.
Be smart and browse safely.