Imagine something that follows you home and sets itself up
in your house. It eats your food, enjoys your drinks, reads
everything you bring home or purchase. It runs up your
phone bills and no matter where you go, it can follow you
and takes notes on everything you do.
Generically labeled spyware, your stealth visitor is a
program or set of programs designed to track your Internet
activity. And, while it hasn’t gone as far as above, it can
and will make your life uncomfortable.
The most benign form of spyware simply takes note of what
types of websites you visit and communicates the
information to its source. For advertisers, this adware
form of spyware allowed them to only send advertisements
you were likely to be interested in.
The theory being that it saved wasting anyone’s time on
products you wouldn’t likely care about or want to buy. Of
course, that was the theory. The practice has become one of
abuse, with so many packaged adware or spyware programs
downloaded, you may never know who is watching.
While there are different viruses that act spyware and
render malicious damage to your PC, bandwidth and sometimes
your modem, spyware may take the same format and render
Most spyware is installed after downloading some type of
free program or attachment from someone you don’t know.
Sophisticated processes can hide in .dll files and be
incredibly difficult to remove even for spyware zapper
The initial idea behind spyware or adware may not have been
so bad. However, they will take up lots of valuable CPU and
RAM space on your machine, clogging your Internet
bandwidth, which can create noticeable delays when you are
doing normal day-to-day activities. It can slow down reboot
processes because of adding unwanted programs to your start
Those downfalls are just what happens with the programs not
designed to hijack your browser, point it at porn sites,
download pornographic material, steal your address books,
stored credit card information or create a waypoint for
hacking into other’s machines.
Spyware is a very real villain in the cyber world. The
majority of computer and Internet users do not believe
these types of programs affect them, yet more often than
not; they have hopefully been protected by firewalls and
anti-virus software that combat them.
Avoiding irresponsible net behavior, such as downloading
programs or files from an unknown sender, the taking of
free offers of packaged software, including games,
giveaways, software and utilities may prove detrimental to
the life and function of your machine. Many of these
packaged programs carry hidden within their walls spyware
of some type.
So whether it is designed to discover which web merchants
you visit most often or what credit card information you
have stored on your machine, spyware is a very real threat
in a world where the Internet is seemingly as important to
everyday activity as a pair of shoes. The best advice is to
be aware, in addition to installing anti-virus software
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About the author:
Tom Jenson has worked in software development for 20 years.
He’s seen spyware develop from an occasional problem, to a
daily, hourly threat to all pc’s. He made it a mission to
research these threats, and work out how best to combat
them. Now this series of article helps others protect
their computers too.