Since you are reading this article, you are connected to the Internet. And as such, you are vulnerable to something called spyware. Most people are aware of this thing called spyware, and are vaguely aware of the need to defend against it, but most of us aren’t quite exactly sure what it is in any amount of detail, nor what steps should be taken to adequately defend against it. In this article I’ll go over the basics of what spyware is, and how to protect yourself from it.
The general description of spyware is any software that gets installed on your computer for the purposes of secretly collecting information. Many different kinds of spyware exist for many different purposes and reasons. Basically, they all involve stealing your personal information that you would rather keep secret. Spyware can slow down your computer, change your Internet settings, and do other damage.
One particular application of spyware is a keylogger program. These software programs are designed to record every thing you type. Anonymous third parties can use them, but also parents and bosses can use them if they want to monitor exactly what is being typed on a particular computer. One bad way people can use a keylogger program is to steal your passwords or other sensitive information, like your credit card numbers, or your social security numbers.
Different kinds of spyware will record your Internet surfing preferences. The web sites you visit regularly, the information you routinely type in when doing a Google search, and other information. Primarily for advertising, these programs collect information that can be used to help sell you stuff more effectively. These can severely slow down your computer, and sometimes make connecting to the Internet impossible.
Just as people and organizations create these malicious programs, there are also people and organizations that create defensive programs that you can use to protect yourself. These both protect your computer from having spyware installed in the first place, as well as routinely scanning your machine to detect and remove spyware that has already been installed.
In this day and age, it is imperative to have some kind of anti-spyware software installed on your computer. And as spyware is becoming increasingly harder to detect, it is important to choose a robust anti-spyware program that will continuously improve it’s ability to both protect your computer, and remove any current infections. Most decent anti-spyware programs come with frequent updates, which are needed to stay one step ahead of the bad guys. Your data, and privacy are extremely important, and obviously protecting them is a high priority for you.