Spyware is a "malware" or malicious software that is placed on your computer without your knowledge. This can happen when you visit online web sites offering free downloads of games, when you download videos or music, or any share files, such as when you download that comic e mail from your friend. Spyware programs are piggybacked into your machine at the same time you download a file. Spyware is infecting millions of home computers today.
Spyware tracks your on line computer habits. It knows each site you visit and what you have looked up on that site. Some spyware even tracks each keystroke you make, including every bit of information you fill out on a form, such as name and address, and credit card information when you make a purchase. This has some in the online world worried that this can lead to identity theft and stealing of credit card numbers. Your computer surfing habits and personal information is then sold to businesses. The spyware business is a billion dollar industry, with lots of people getting rich selling your information without your knowledge.
Another problem with spyware is that unless you run anti spyware software often, you don't know that spyware been installed until your computer starts to slow down. By the time your computer slows down due to spyware you could have as many as six or seven different spyware programs running in the background.
You can get rid of spyware by running any of the number of anti-spyware programs available on the market today. Run these programs often. Some suggest that after you run an anti spyware program that you re-boot your computer and run the software again to make sure there are no "ticklers". Ticklers are designed to reinstall spyware.
The best way to avoid spyware is to stay away from downloading freebies. Don't open unsolicited e-mail, delete it before you open it. When downloading any software, even legitimate software programs from the internet read the end users agreement thoroughly. Some of these agreements will state that they are installing spyware type software, and by you downloading their program you are agreeing to let them put spyware on your computer. If you know this then you have the ability to say yes, or no and protect your personal information.
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