Guarding Yourself From Spyware

Because the Internet has become a virtual world for billions of people all over the globe, fraud and hacking are huge threats which can cause devastating effects. Identity theft and financial ruins are very real situations which some people have unfortunately fell prey to. Extracting information in a covert manner is done through the help of programs which run on your computer without your knowledge and retrieve information from behind your back. An example of such programs includes spyware.

What is a spyware?
A spyware is a kind of software which is installed in your computer and gathers information which it then sends back to its creator. The types of information which could be retrieved by these spyware include browsing habits, details of your system, and, more dangerously, passwords and other types of sensitive information for such applications as online banking. And if a spyware isn’t designed to retrieve those kinds of sensitive information, they’re almost certain to be extremely annoying but are extremely effective in bogging down your computer or network.

How do you get spyware?
Spyware are commonly bundled with applications that you download for free such as games right off the Internet. Once these programs are installed, the spyware are also installed along with them. While the application you downloaded works perfectly fine according to the initial reason for why you decided to get the software to begin with, the spyware is also collecting information without your knowledge.

Ironically, you may be downloading a spyware with the information collecting activity explicitly spelled out on the end-user license agreement of the program. Doing so protects the creator of the program from any kind of legal liability because you unwittingly installed the application, and agreed to the terms and conditions without really reading it all the way through.

What are the different types of spyware?
Malware. This type of software is short for malicious software which is any kind of program which runs without the computer user’s knowledge, functions without your permission, and does harm to your computer.

Adware. This program shows advertisements through a program which you install into your computer. This program tracks your browsing habits and then matches the ads which it shows to you based on this information.

Cookie. While cookies are not really a kind of spyware, they do store information that are used by websites which another questionable website could make use of these cookies to retrieve information from you.

The writer, Keith Daniels, loves to blog about websites, servers and spyware. He shares great insights about Macquarie Telecom