Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Evil That Spyware Can Do

Spyware usually refers to software that is created with the sole purpose of taking partial or complete control of a person’s computer without the permission of the owner of the computer. What spyware does is that it uses the resources in your computer to report certain information to someone else that you do not know. Simply put spyware spies on you and on your computer. What kind of spying does spyware do? Spyware monitors what you do on your computer and then forwards your information to someone else by using the Internet. The spying that spyware carries out differs, spyware can keep track of the websites that you frequent and then send this information to someone else. This information usually allows other people to see the sort of information that you’re interested in and they can then send you different adverts in the form of spam. Legitimate companies may also use spyware to advertise to you. In this case such spyware is usually called adware. Adware isn’t as bad as spyware but it may just be as annoying if not even more so. Other forms of spyware may have a more dangerous way of operating. Some of these dangerous forms of spyware may record every stroke that you make on your computer. These forms of spyware can detect you passwords and collect other information such as your credit card and bank account information. Anything you type on your computer is in the domain of these criminals and they can steal everything from your money to your identity. Where does spyware come from? Most forms of spyware usually come from visiting websites that install something on your computer. Some of these websites have different forms of spam on them and they trigger pop-ups which may then come up on your screen. Most of these pop-ups make you click on them because they are usually offering one free promo or the other. When you click on them however, they do something else. This something else is usually the installation of one form of malicious software or the other. Most times you hardly ever notice anything. At other times you see a whole lot of annoying pop-ups or your homepage gets changed to something else. How can you get rid of spyware on your computer? A whole number of computer software programs exist which can help you get rid of any spyware on your computer. These computer software programs are usually called anti-spyware programs. Different forms of popular software in this category exist and they are: SpyBlaster, Windows Defender, WebRoot Spy Sweeper and a number of other software programs. Some of these programs may be free but the best of these programs usually come at a price. Some Internet providers also provide you with some of these software programs for free. Regardless of the type on anti-spyware you will need constant updates as newer versions of anti-spyware become available. How often should you run your anti-spyware program? Making sure you’re really safe is a personal task and if you want to make sure that you’re absolutely safe, you should run your anti-spyware program every time that you use your computer. These programs are quick and easy to use and they can work in the background wile you focus your efforts on doing something else. Darren Williger is an over-caffeinated, security oriented winemaking enthusiast who writes for , NetworkSecurity.WS , and

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