Spyware is computer software that is installed stealthily on a personal computer to intercept or take partial control over the user’s interaction with the computer, without the user’s knowledge or consent. Unlike a computer virus, spyware does not directly spread in the manner of a worm. Generally, an infected system does not attempt to transmit the infection to other computers; the issue is contained to your local system.
Spyware normally interferes with networking software, which commonly causes difficulty connecting to the Internet. Spyware, along with other threats, has led some Windows users to move to other platforms such as Linux or Apple Macintosh, which are less attractive targets for malware. However these platforms are not full-proof so don’t fall into an out of sight trap. They will reach your system by exploiting security holes or are packaged with user-installed software, such as Limewire.
Spyware is often hidden alongside other programs, and you may unknowingly install spyware when you download a program from the Internet or install software from disks.
The scariest part of being attacked is the privacy implications, as spyware can also gather information about e-mail addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers.
Not only can spyware programs collect various types of personal information, but they can also interfere with user control of the computer in other ways, such as installing additional software, redirecting Web browser activity, or diverting advertising revenue to a third party.
Microsoft has an entire Windows Update site devoted to automatically updating users’ systems with all the latest fixes and patches for a wide range of Microsoft software, including Windows, Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access), and Internet Explorer.
Anti-spyware software programs can be used solely for detection and removal of spyware software that has already been installed onto your computer. Anti-virus software can detect many but not all forms of malicious software before they have a chance to affect your computer. Anti-spyware applications must also be able to remove programs on reboot for spyware/adware that refuses to be removed through normal processes. Of course, anti-spyware applications alone can’t protect you entirely from unwanted spyware and adware.
For example, recent test results show that bundled software (WhenUSave) is ignored by popular anti spyware program AdAware, (but removed as spyware by most scanners) because it is part of the popular (but recently decommissioned) Edonkey client. To address this dilemma, the Anti-Spyware Coalition has been working on building consensus within the anti-spyware industry as to what is and isn’t acceptable software behavior.
Another form of spyware is Adware, it’s similar to viruses in that they can be malicious in nature, however the focus now is money as people are now profiting from these threats making them more and more popular.
Anti virus programs are so very important so all of you using the internet daily should most definitely check it out more thoroughly very soon.