Introduction to Spyware

It is estimated by Source: Facetime communications, that 80% and more than that of personal computers have the problem of spyware infected on its operating system. But

what exactly is this spyware and how is it different from other malicious programs?

It is simple program that hides in the background and collects information on users system without user's intervention. As it is hidden in background user may not recognize it.


Type of information it collects include personal information about the user and internet surfing details which include sites often visited details etc. It is also known that spyware installs additional software, changes computer setting, redirecting web browser activity and finally slows the overall performance of the computer. Even internet connection cannot perform well if a spyware is present in the system. So, the difference from other malicious programs like virus, worms, Trojans is that a Spyware program does not self-replicate itself.

Most of the time a spyware targets windows operating system only and some well-known spyware threats on Windows OS include Trymedia, Nuvens, Estalive, Hotbar etc.

Facts to note on Spyware

It is to be known that leaning about spyware is safe but too much suspicious is not needed and some misconception about it should be cleared by knowing it properly.

In general there is misunderstanding among Internet users that some advertising companies use spyware as medium to know users profile and shopping interests but it is not so. However, an Adware has similar features and it throws pop-up windows and gathers general information and habits about user.

There is very dangerous security problems connected with Spyware software as they connect with target computer remotely. The system can be vulnerable to outside attack other than spyware program.

A Spyware is illegal activity and in some countries it is having punishment that includes heavy penalty and imprisonment. So, before trying to install a Spyware of any system the hacker should think about this. However, some countries do not consider it illegal.

As said earlier the Spyware can be easily installed on any system and even technical knowledge is not needed for doing it. Sometimes it is believed that even a child can install it. There are companies which sell the Spyware software that is legitimate and are used by employers to monitor their employees.

Most of the Spyware software selling companies often convinces the buyers that it is untraceable but there is way to trace and remove it. Deleting history and cookies can be useless for users who are attacked by Spyware. However, anti-spyware software can work fine in such cases. As they use various detection methods to trace the Spyware which can be further removed.

As a point to note avoid unknown and suspicious programs to download on system by using good Internet security software.

How to detect and remove a Spyware

As said earlier, a Spyware is hidden program which can be installed in users system through some download or pop-up. So, inorder to detect it users should note the point whether they have done any download from unknown site. If the answer is yes then there is a chance of Spyware affecting the system. However, if the system performance degrades then only the doubt arises.

Some of the symptoms that can be noticed are:

1) Pop-up ads display themselves when user is offline and sometimes even username is display in that pop-up window.

2) On starting a browser some different content can be seen that usually do not occur before. Even on changing the setting of browser the same thing happens

3) Web search through browser shows some unknown sites which are not related to search

4) Favorites links change with some new websites been displayed. Even after deleting the same links may re-appear. Some unknown toolbar may also appear without any installation by user and often it is not removable or reappears in removing.

5) Suddenly the system performance degrades due to some unknown program using system resources fully.

6) Internet connection/modem icon in system tray may not function correctly or may act different. However if all these symptoms are not noticed particularly by the user then everything seems normal.

What is the solution?

There is often a solution for any malicious program that affects our system. But, some quick steps can also help for users who are not interested in installing Internet security software.

1) Pop-up blocking software is quiet useful such as Google or Alexa toolbars which have in-build pop-up blocker.

2) Spyware scanning should be done either through anti-spyware software such as SpyBot which is free software or remove with Internet security software.

Following these steps can be useful and also helps in securing the system from other outside attacks.

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