What is spyware?
Spyware refers to a family of programs that are usually installed on your computer without your knowledge while you are surfing the web. The purpose of spyware is to track the web sites that you visit and the products you purchase, primarily for marketing purposes. Your information is reported back to the spyware company, which then creates a profile about you, to target you for various types of advertisements and marketing.
In extreme cases, spyware can "hijack" your browser, changing your startup page, causing windows to pop-up, and forcing you to visit web sites to view advertisements or other materials. No matter how many times you close the windows, they pop-up again and again. Spyware can also grab passwords and credit card numbers through a process known as keystroke logging.
Your computer can become infected with spyware when you simply visit a web site. Spyware is also often bundled with programs that you can download "for free," including music and video files. For example, file-sharing programs, such as Kazaa and Blubster, are notorious for including spyware with their downloads.
Listed below are some of the file sharing programs and download managers that infect computers with spyware:
For more information about spyware programs, go to the Spyware Guide web site.
How can I protect my computer from spyware?
The best way to protect your computer from spyware is to use caution when going to unfamiliar web sites and downloading unknown files. Also, for your protection, use an anti-spyware program, such as Symantec Endpoint Protection.
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