Spyware is malicious software that installs itself in the user’s computer without the knowledge of the user and sends personal information to the creator of the spyware. The creator can be the owner of a website who would use your personal information and track your browsing activity and then market it for their purpose. They may also be a hacker who would misuse your information and then create damage to your security as well as to your PC.  Some of the most popular spyware are the Gator and eZula.

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The spyware application may be any hardware or software that would track your personal information.

Detection of Spywares:

Your computer has been infected with a spyware if any of the following undesirable activities happens in your computer:

The settings of your computer changes randomly like the wallpapers, screen size, etc.

You intend to visit a site but you are redirected to some other site which differs totally from your search criterion.

You constantly receive pop-up ads/advertisement about various products.

The performance of your PC deteriorates.511

Unexpected toolbar installed in your browser.

Unexpected icons installed in your browser.

Your Home page changes frequently.

Display of error messages constantly for the most visiting sites.

Some of the most used keys in the keyboard do not seem to work.

Source of Spywares:

Spyware attacks can happen anytime during your browsing. You need to be precautious to avoid it. You may be infected by a spyware from any of the following pages:

By visiting a web-page or by clicking an Ad on a webpage.

By clicking on a link in your email or downloading an attachment from your e-mail.

By downloading software which allows you to download only if you agree to share your information. These are generally mentioned in the Terms and Agreement section of the software but we rarely read through and, download. The “End User License Agreement” as they refer, allow the developers of the software to use your personal information.

Form of Spywares:

Adware:

Adware or Advertising supported software is software that displays pop-up ads and renders advertisements. Generally the advertisements are in the form of pop-ups. Adware themselves are harmless but they generally come with spywares which monitors your internet activity and share your personal information to 3rd party website.512

Adware’s are implemented in the software in the form of advertisement by the developer to recover the cost of developing the software. Advertisements are often irritating if they are interrupted in between. Some of the software which distribute the software free of charge but full of advertisements, offers paid services to give advertisement free software without any interruption. Thus revenue can be generated following any of the methods.

Trojans:

It is a file or programs that track your personal information and cause damage to the host computer system. Trojan Horse covers 80% of the malwares spread over the web. It spreads in the same way that a spyware infects a computer. They run silently in the background without the knowledge of the user. However, they are more harmful than the Adware.

Some other basic forms include:

Tracking Cookies:  Cookies which track your personal information like your username, password, private and sensitive information, etc.

Browser Hacking: These causes changes in the host file, your home page, effects your search and displays error messages for the frequently browsed pages .

Keyloggers: It keeps a log of all your personal information and send it to a 3rd party for misuse.

Spybots: it monitors your browsing activity as well as sends your information to 3rd party website. It may also affect your host system as it may exist as a dll file.

Preventive Measures to be taken:

Similar to anti-virus, lot many anti-spyware software are available to remove this malicious software. Spyware doctor and Super Anti-spyware are some of the good ones to remove spyware.513

Some more preventive measures that needs to be followed are :

Do not install suspecting software. Alternatively, if you find any undesired software in your system already installed, uninstall it immediately.

Enable all the browser’s security settings.

Read the Terms and Conditions before installing free software and ensure that it does not share or access your information.

Run an anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-spyware regularly for the PC. At the end run a CCleaner to remove all the unwanted and unused files from your computer.


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