Information on Spyware

Spyware is software or software code that is written purposefully to steal the user’s information like banking details, social security number, passwords, or similar information or to spy on the person’s online surfing habits. Spyware is usually designed in such a way that it infects the computer without the user’s approval and in most cases the user may not even be aware about the fact that his/her online activities are being recorded. Many spyware programs can also hijack Internet explorer, deliver unsolicited popups and download and install other software, viruses or more adware.


Spyware removal can be sometimes problematic because malicious files are often invisible to the computer user. Earlier the term "spyware" meant computer hardware that was intended for espionage. However, after it was used in a press conference in 2000 by Gregor Freud, a security expert at Zone Labs, the term has taken on its present significance. Today, almost all the people who are familiar with computers and the Internet may be aware of virus programs, spyware applications and trojan horses.


Spy-ware usually install themselves by exploiting vulnerabilities in Windows or when the user mistakenly installs infested or "tagged" from the Network. The main difference between virus programs and spyware programs is that unlike virus applications, spyware programs do not replicate i.e. make copies of themselves and infect other systems. Many trojan programs also install spyware without the user’s consent. Microsoft Windows is more vulnerable to spyware programs and other such malicious programs. Apple MacOS X and other OSes like Linux and PCBSD are more secure compared to Windows. There is a lot of debating as to why there are few spyware applications targeting GNU/linux and PCBSD.


Some security experts that these operating systems are design-wise less vulnerable and it is challenging to program spyware to run on these. Other experts claim that since the use of these is way lower when compared with Windows, spyware writers do not think that it is worthwhile to write spyware specifically for these operating systems. If you use a Windows computer, it is recommended to regularly install updates to your OS to protect yourself from spyware and other malware. Update files contain bug fixes and patches to software susceptibilities.


It is also recommended to install and use a better browser like Firefox or Opera in place of the default Internet Explorer. These web browsers are more safe and can help in keeping your computer free from spyware. You should also download and install a good virus scanner and install updates regularly. Most free anti-virus software can disinfect spyware. However, you should also install an anti-spyware software along with virus removal software for best results. A software firewall should also be installed. Most anti-virus packages or Internet security suites, as they are known, come with a firewall.


 * For more information check out the free spyware removal page.

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November 16, 2008 by: Prasanth Chandra


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