Spyware, as the name suggests, allows those unwanted guests
to view all of your computer activity. Worms, viruses, and
trojans also belong to the same group, which is known as
Spyware varies from some fairly harmless things through to
some very worrying little programs. Things as simple as
cookies or the lists of recently accessed files are similar
to spyware - they are a way to keep a track of your likes
and dislikes. There are many advantages to using cookies -
for a start they often save you having to go through the
same questions every time you go to a website. They make
possible a personalized web browsing experience. Most people
appreciate cookies and they're right not worry too much
Most people's definition of spyware begins with the programs
that send information about your activities online or on
your personal computer without you even knowing about it.
This could be information on what web sites you visit and
could have some commercial value. It's pretty interesting
information for advertisers, for example. Many of us find
this an invasion of privacy, even if it has no more serious
side-effects. Often however it does have a side-effect -
these programs can cause your PC to run slowly or even
crash without explanation. In fact surprise crashes are one
sign that you may have spyware on your computer.
If you surf the Internet, download programs, or even install
programs from disc or CD, it's safe to assume you have some
spyware - most computers are infected, especially if the
user isn't on their guard for it. What's more, a lot of
spyware isn't intercepted by standard antivirus programs.
There also exists a particularly worrying form of spyware,
known as the 'key-logger'. This is a program that is able to
record every keystroke that you make on your computer and
then send it back to whoever originated the spyware.
Potentially this allows them to uncover your passwords and
your bank details - the frightening consequences are easy to
This most evil kind of spyware is quite rare, but together
with the privacy invasion and PC slowing caused by less
threatening forms, it makes up a good reason to take steps
to eliminate spyware.
There are several good selections of anti-spyware available
on the market. Some are free to the end-user. And others
come with a subscription, which means an annual fee. You
should continually run your spyware scan option to check
the current state of your PC. Don't be surprised if you
Anti-spyware programs will scan your hard drive and files.
After the scan process has been completed, the anti-spyware
program will supply you with a list of spyware threats. The
program can only scan for viruses and spyware its been made
aware of, so it is important to download updates on a
regular basis. Updates are provided daily and weekly -
isn't that scary - to those who have a subscription.
Whatever option you decide upon, the sooner you take action
to protect yourself against spyware the better.
Penny D'Argesse is the owner and operator of the website,
Y http://www.yspyware.com, a valuable
online resource dealing with the issue of spyware
To access more articles on this topic visit Penny's
article archive at http://www.yspyware.com/articlespyware/