Spyware 101: Understanding and Fighting Spyware Doug Partridge © 2005
In a short amount of time, Spyware has gone from relative obscurity to an almost daily mention. This article was prepared to help you understand basics and tell you where you can get more information.
What is Spyware?
Quite simply Spyware is a type of rogue software program that gets copied to your computer without warning or permission. The goal of Spyware is to monitor and record information about you. In some cases, Spyware gets loaded on your PC just by visiting wrong websites.
What is its purpose?
On serious side, "Keyboard loggers" do just that - record keys from your keyboard as you type. This is an extremely menacing form of Spyware. As you can imagine your accounts, passwords, emails anything you type is susceptible to keyboard loggers. In fact, this is kind of Spyware that is largely responsible for online identity theft.
In case of Adware it's to "profile" your online activities and interests. This information is used by advertisers to promote ads and pop-ups targeted to your specific interests.
Is Adware Spyware?
There is some debate on this, but consensus is that if Adware records and submits information about you ... it falls under category of Spyware.
How does it get on your computer?
In case of less harmful varieties they are usually bundled with some Shareware or "free" programs. The peer-to-peer (P2P) music downloading programs are notorious for including Adware with their programs.
A word of advice: be extremely cautions about programs you install on your computer.