What is spyware?
The term Spyware is used for any programs, cookies or registry entries that secretly gather information about your online activities. Such programs are used to transmit data to companies or individuals (hackers, ID-Theft) interested in using it for advertising or malicious acts, but the Anti-spyware Coalition reports that spyware is becoming increasingly dangerous and being deployed in a more stealthy fashion, using methods that are difficult to detect. The use of such methods considers spyware an invasion of privacy and a compromise of individual personal information (identity-theft). We suggest you sign up for LIFELOCK to protect you identity.
Where does spyware come from?
Spyware distributors often bundle their software with other software, often from shareware applications or downloads on file-sharing services like Kazaa, Limewire or Morpheus, screensaver download sites, toolbars installations widgets and porn sites. They also rely on security holes, chain letters, email attachments and scams to spread their unwanted programs.
How does spyware affect your computer system?
Like we mentioned before, spyware is considered a violation of people’s privacy, and it certainly can be a nuisance. Spyware installs in your system without your consent, opening and exploiting dangerous security holes on the network and reinstall after being uninstalled. In addition to potentially damaging your system or network, you may get annoying pop up ads, viral advertising, be exposed to objectionable material, experience a mayor slowdown or have conflicts with other programs and operating system. Excessive spyware on a computer will lead to computer frequent crashes, hangs, freezing, and even data lost.
How can I protect my system from spyware?
- Run anti-spyware and anti-virus programs frequently to clean and scan your computer
- Ensure that your browser and operating system is up-to-date and have the latest security patches
- Enable the automatic updates on your software if offered, if not schedule it manually to run weekly at least
- Set your browser security and privacy levels to high, disable JAVA and scripts
- Your downloading habits need changing and use extreme caution and common sense if you frequent peer-to-peer (p2p) services. It is difficult, if not impossible, to verify that the source of the files is trustworthy and don’t click on a pop up ads, like Tribbles—they keep duplicating and multiplying!