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What is Spyware?

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Spyware has eclipsed viruses as the fastest growing online threat, infecting nearly 90% of Internet connected PCs. If you are like most internet users, chances are you are infected with not just one, but many, of these programs. Simply surfing the internet, reading email, downloading music or other files can infect your PC without you knowing it.

What is spyware?

The term "spyware" generically refers to software programs made by unscrupulous marketing companies that allow them to snoop on your browsing activity, see what you purchase, and cause pop-up ads to appear on your computer.

More specifically, Adware is any software program that causes advertising banners to be displayed to the user. Spyware is any software program that sends data back to a third party without asking you for permission.

Why are these programs a problem?

Spyware causes lots of problems on your PC without you ever suspecting it's there. Have you ever noticed that your computer runs a lot better when you first purchase it than it does months later? The most likely culprit is spyware.

Why should I care?

Spyware ...

* Consumes resources on your PC
* Slows it down
* Causes it to crash
* Interferes with your web browser, slowing it down or causing downloads to fail. It can even hijack your browser, redirecting you and your children to sites with objectionable material
* Slows down your internet connection because while you are surfing, it is sending information about your surfing habits to ad companies, who then target you with popup ads that fit your preferences
* Costs you money - If you are paying for dialup internet access, spyware is literally costing you money.

In short, while spyware is typically not hazardous to your PC, it is annoying and unnecessary. It's the next generation of spam.

How did I get it?

Spyware can infect your system in many different ways: visiting a spy-spreading web site, opening a spy-carrying email attachment, downloading a spy as part of another (often "free") software program, etc. Your privacy, and even your identity, is at high risk if you surf the Internet more than one hour a week, share your computer or use file-sharing programs like KaZaa. Traditional anti-virus programs and firewalls don't offer protection from invasive and harmful spyware programs that can manifest themselves in many ways on your PC.

What can I do?

If you're in a hurry, visit our review page to discover reputable products that will completely protect you against this threat.

Be careful! There are programs out there that claim to stop spyware, but will actually install it on your PC and prevent anti-spyware programs from operating correctly in the future.

Want to know more? Visit our resources page to learn about other sites that will teach you about spyware and keep you informed.

Other Spyware Resources

Wikipedia Entry on Spyware

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Last Updated on May 13, 2004 06:36 PM

All content copyright 2004, Gooroo, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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