What is Spyware?

Everything You Need To Know About Spyware

computer spyware

Spyware is software that is installed on a computer to steal or intercept the details of people without their consent. Spyware is harmful and dangerous since it can collect information from your computer. It can also accumulate vital and private information. The spyware works in a secrecy mode and the user never comes to know that his or her information been taken and
transmitted to the hacker online. You will only come to know about it when the bank starts reducing your credit card balance. By then it will be too late to react.

Spyware can also install other spy software such as key loggers and even redirect your web browser. For example, you may think you have arrived at your usual websites, however, in reality, spyware directs you to a fake website that looks the same as that of the original website. This is called a browser session hijack. The purpose of this is usually to steal your financial details or some private information such as your internet banking details. They can also redirect you to advertisements where the hijacker earns commissions when an unsuspecting surfer pays a visit to the website.

What is Spyware:

  • Bad software put on your computer to take your information
  • Pop Up Ads

Warning Signs of Spyware Presence on Your Personal Computer or Laptop

Fortunately, there are easy to identify warning signs to note if your PC or laptop is infected with spyware. The most common warning sign would be speed reduction. The next warning sign would be recurring and several pop-ups ads. When you notice these signs, you may have spyware in your computer.

How to know if you may have Spyware:

  • Your computer is running slower than before.
  • Pop Up Ads

How does Spyware Affect Your Personal Computer?

A Spyware gets installed in your personal computer without your knowledge. The spyware infection often happens within 5-minutes of connecting your computer to the internet for the very first time. The spyware is often hidden into some freeware software that you download online. Usually they infect a computer when you just visit a bad site. The hijackers know the security loopholes in Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer etc. which they use to enter your personal computer or laptop without you downloading anything. When you install this downloaded freeware the spyware also gets installed and starts running either immediately or after you restart your computer. Some of these spyware can run as a genuine windows service and even an expert computer user may fail to detect these services. Some users who don’t even know how to use internet banking or have never used their credit card online can also get infected with spyware on their computers.

Spyware can also affect the efficiency of your computer. When a computer user tries to open his or her home page, it shows some type of error or displays some mischievous script to users. Spyware can also change the settings of your computer, resulting in a slow internet connection and corruption or loss of important data and programs.
The effects of spyware vary. For example, the hard drive may make strange sounds or the speed of the computer may be affected. Another thing to look for is pop-up ads. If secret, spyware is residing on your personal computer, these pop-ups ads may spring up every few seconds, while surfing the internet.
Spyware uses your PC or laptop’s memory and system resources while it’s running in the background. This slows your PC’s processing speed and can result to system crashes and instability.
Since the spyware is downloading ads to display and sending information on your activities to its “home base”, it’s using valuable internet data that isn’t available for your other activities. The spyware not only sends your private information without your approval, it also slows down your computer to do it.
Spyware can take up a huge amount of your computer’s resources, making it work slowly, lag in between applications, frequent system crashes and even overheat or freezes your computer causing permanent damage.

How Does Spyware Send Data to Online Hackers

Spyware is designed to capture every keyboard hit that you press, get the details and address of every website that you visit, and also capture whatever you copy-and-paste. This information is stored in a small text file which ensures a very small file size usually less than 1kb and transmitting this file will take a fraction of a second. Surprisingly, the hijackers are very clever and bent on getting your sensitive and important information and will go to any extent. Some spyware cannot be removed even using Windows task manager. The data continues to be collected by spyware even when you are not connected to the internet. The data will then be transferred to the hackers when you connect your computer to the internet. You will never see this happen until your bank money has been stolen and your credit card limit reached.

How to Prevent Spyware

There are countless ways that you can protect your computer from spyware. The most recommended way to control this infection is by preventing it from getting on your computer.
There are several products that claim to protect your computer from spyware attacks, and it can be very difficult to determine which one works best. Since spyware is constantly changing, you need software that changes with it and can keep-up with the current types of attacks. You need to find software that will protect your computer as comprehensively as possible, because even a small weakness can be exploited and will put your computer at a greater risk.

Several individuals are turning to internet security solutions with dependable anti-virus detection capabilities and active protection. If your personal computer or laptop is already infected, several anti-virus providers offer spyware removal utilities to help in identifying and deleting spyware. There is a good number of free anti-virus software, but while a free antivirus trial is a good way to find out which product is best for you, don’t depend on a solution that promises unlimited protection at no cost. They will most likely lack some vital features such as a virtual encrypted keyboard for entering in monetary information or a cloud based detection system and a strong anti-spam filter, which leaves your computer at risk. Make sure that you use a trustworthy internet security provider when choosing spyware removal software as certain utilities can be compromised and actually be spyware themselves.