Spyware is a broad term associated with an assortment of software on your computer that can do numerous things including collecting personal information, creating pop up advertisements, and tracking internet usage. Spyware commonly installs itself onto your computer without permission and typically has an unfavorable effect on performance.
- Slow PC performance
- More frequent pop-up ads even when not surfing the web
- Mysterious homepage/bookmark changes
- Unusually slow Internet access
- New or different search toolbars
- Malfunctioning Anti-spyware/anti-virus software
Even a small amount of spyware on a system can slow down a PC because it operates in the background, draining hard drive resources.
Adware tracking cookies trigger the most benign form of pop-up ads. Cookies that exist on your PC serve up pop-up ads related to the site you are visiting, your personal information or online activities. The more cookies you have on your PC, the more pop-ups will appear. Occasionally, even the "close" or "cancel" buttons imply yes. A different pop-up, which copies a Windows Messenger Service window, is also a strategy to download spyware onto your PC.
Hijacker spyware resets your homepage as a result, every time you launch Internet you land on that site. Until you remove it, this type of spyware application will not let you change your default homepage to a more desirable address.
Spyware blocks bandwidth since it is importing data (pop-up ads) while sending out data (user activity, screenshots, bank account numbers, keystroke logs).
Spyware riddled applications frequently install a new search toolbar on a PC with the objective of hijacking searches for search terms. Subject to the validity of the toolbar, searches could end up on a pay per click site, and some of those sites load additional spyware onto your PC.
As a survival maneuver, spyware occasionally targets the software designed to locate and eliminate it.
- Downloading freeware/shareware applications
- Opening email messages or attachments sent from an unknown individual
- You Installed it!
- Installing add-on toolbars and unsafe software
- Bad websites
- Recognized spyware applications
A number of individuals are partial to downloading free stuff and sharing files, however free programs and sharing software can include spyware. They may guarantee to speed up your internet connection, manage downloads, or else add extra features to your browser (such as a search box) then the pop-ups appear.
You can get spyware just by visiting a website, which secretly installs a script that HIJACKS your browser. As a result, rather than going to your homepage (or any website you type in) you get pop-ups or advertisements that may include graphic pictures, or cause your browser or computer to crash or hang.
You can get spyware from e-mail, especially if you have clicked a link inside an e-mail (usually spam). You have no control over what the link does, or what it installs. This is a very common way of getting spyware and viruses.
Countless spyware programs are inadvertently installed when you said YES or NO to a pop-up that asked you if you want to install something!
A number of sites will prompt you to install programs that are completely safe however; some will prompt you to install toolbars, spyware, and adware. A number of identifiable names, for instance Macromedia, Microsoft or Apple are usually trustworthy. Nevertheless if you do not recognize the name, it is wiser to be safe than sorry and click cancel. If you really need it, write down the name of the program and company name, and do a search for it to see if it comes up as a spyware or adware problem.
You should avoid certain areas when surfing online. The most common distributors of spyware and adware are sites that offer adult content, free music downloads, free casino-type games, time and date manager, or toolbar buddies. Download anything from these types of sites, you can almost guarantee you will be downloading spyware/adware that will profit the site you downloaded from.
The installation of Spyware is typically concealed; the following applications are known for their spyware that should not be downloaded:
- Bonzi Buddy
- Gator / GAIN
- Weather Bug
- Webshots Desktop
- Exercise safe surfing
- Safeguard your browser
- Be cautious of cookies
- Delete Spam
- Think twice about peer-to-peer file sharing services
- Maintain current anti spyware software
- Anti spyware protection
- Read Licensing Agreements
Keep away from websites that offer pirated (bootleg) software, free casino-type games or else adult material as these sites are well known for distributing spyware.
Set your browser's security settings high enough (I.E. on Medium) to safeguard from automatic installation of unsolicited programs. Furthermore, make certain you only download programs from trustworthy sites before installing.
Cookies could perhaps add ease throughout your browsing sessions, in spite of this they can trace your actions while online and communicate that data back to another party lacking your knowledge. This outbound communication is triggered through cookies as well as slowing down your internet connection.
Delete messages from unfamiliar senders along with email containing an attachment, even if the sender is known. Beware when looking at email in the preview pane as you have the capability of starting spyware program downloads. Therefore it is suggested that you turn off the preview pane option.
P2P network clients regularly load spyware onto your PC when you sign up for their service (Kazaa, Morpheus etc), these files being swapped and shared (photos, music, videos or games) could potentially contain spyware.
Effective anti-spyware software offers clients with regular updates to combat the latest spyware variations. Run scheduled or manual scans, and make certain you choose any proactive monitoring options the software may have. Also, reinforce your protection with anti-virus in addition to a firewall.
Tools you can download and buy on the internet which scan and remove Spyware/Ad-Aware.
- http://www.lavasoftusa.com – Adware
- http://www.safer-networking.org – Spyware
- http://www.stop-sign.com - Anti virus
- http://www.mcafee.com - Anti virus
- http://spychecker.com/spyware.html - Spyware
Licensing agreements that accompany software downloads sometimes warn the user that a spyware program will be installed along with the requested software, but the licensing agreements may not always be read completely because the notice of a spyware installation is often couched in obtuse, hard-to-read legal disclaimers.
Programs are downloaded without the user's knowledge or consent. This is most often accomplished when the user clicks to close or eliminate a random advertisement or other dialogue box.
Encryption is the scrambling of data so it becomes difficult to unscramble and interpret.
A program that can change settings in your Internet browser; most often including your search page to redirect all searches to a specified pay-per-search site, and your default home page to the company page - often a pornography site.
Preferences on spam that is frequently bogus. Specifically, if you respond to request removal, you could be subjecting yourself to more spam, given that by responding, the sender knows that your email account is active.
Software distributed for evaluation without cost, although requires payment to the author for full rights.
Unsolicited commercial email.
Is a type of system monitor that has the ability to record all keystrokes on your computer. As a result, a keylogger can record and log your e-mail messages, chat room conversations, instant messages, and any other typed material. They have the ability to run in the background, hiding their presence.