There are a lot of bad things that can happen by indiscriminately surfing the Internet these days. Spyware, adware, viruses can all ruin any Internet surfers experience. In this article I’ll expose the truth about the good, the bad and the ugly with regards to spyware, and what you can do about it.
First of all, many people confuse spyware with computer viruses. A virus is designed to specifically do damage to your computer, and many times reproduces itself and spreads through your email address list. In fact, it is called a virus as it spread just like a cold or any other illness. These are dangerous, and are only intended to do danger.
Spyware is software that by definition, collects your information with your knowledge. At best, these are controlled pieces of software knowingly put on your computer by your boss or your parents to monitor your computer activity. At worst, they are put there by anonymous third parties for a variety of purposes.
Advertising is their main objective, and the generation of revenue for the developers in something called pay per action. For example, if somebody includes a pay per action in a software that you downloaded, every time you click on a pop up advertisement, somebody gets paid. You can deal with this by looking for that “X” that is most often up in the corner. Software developers, however, are getting smarter, and sometimes hide that “X,” so you need to actually hover your mouse where you think it might be in order to see it. Some programs, which are incredibly frustrating, won’t offer the “X” until a few seconds have passed, literally forcing you to look at the advertisement.
Some spyware is actually helpful, and in many cases people don’t even consider it spyware. For example, many browsers will remember your login details for your favorite web sites, saving you the trouble of having to type them in each time. Other examples are tracking cookies, which are placed in your browser by web sites that require a log in, like in many of the popular free blogging sites on the Internet these days.
The best thing to do if you keep seeing those pesky pop ups is to disable the software, or simply uninstall it. And in the future, be very careful of downloading any software that claims is “free,” as many cases, this doesn’t turn out to be the case.
Some spyware is intended to pave the way for viruses, by changing your firewall settings. This kinds of blurs the line between spyware and viruses, so it pays to be very careful about ever accepting actions that you don’t recognize. Unless you know exactly what a pop up is asking you, always click on the “No,” or “Cancel” button. It goes without saying that you should always have a robust anti spyware program up and running to keep yourself safe.