What is Spyware and how do I avoid it?

Spyware is Internet jargon for any data collection program that secretly gathers information about you and relays it to advertisers and other interested parties. Adware usually displays banners or unwanted pop-up windows. In many cases, such unwanted programs do both functions.

You can unknowingly install spyware when you install new software, most commonly freeware or shareware P2P (peer-to-peer) file-sharing programs. Many of these programs are intended to track your Internet browsing habits, such as frequented sites and favorite downloads, and then provide advertising companies with marketing data.

Some spyware programs can adversely affect your computer’s performance, hijack your browsers home page and may prevent you from accessing secure services such as SharePoint and Webmail.

How to remove it

Unfortunately, once infected spyware is very difficult and sometimes impossible to remove. You cannot fully remove most spyware and adware programs by using the uninstall option in the Windows “Add or Remove Programs” control panel. To completely remove spyware from your Windows computer, you have to use a antispyware program such as “Adaware pro” or ”Spysweeper”. If the damage is to extensive then a complete formatting or wiping of the hard drive has to be done and the operating system reinstalled resulting in loss of data.

How to avoid it

Follow these strategies to avoid spyware and adware:

· Avoid clicking links in advertisements.

· Avoid clicking unsolicited links in e-mail, even if they appear to be from people you know. Some malicious programs propagate by launching a program and sending links to people in the “Contacts List”; if you are on someone’s contact list and get an unsolicited link, verify with the sender that the link was sent intentionally.

· Avoid surfing to unknown websites (you know, sites you never heard of or that just sound of the wall). Some site can install active-x controls in your web browser that can be malicious and open the way for “backdoor Trojans”

Posted in Security.

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