It sounds rather sinister, doesn't it? In a way, it really is. Spyware (another name for Malware or Adware, which is Internet-speak for "advertising supported software") enters your computer without y...
It sounds rather sinister, doesn't it? In a way, it really is. Spyware (another name for Malware or Adware, which is Internet-speak for "advertising supported software") enters your computer without your explicit consent. You see, Spyware normally comes packaged with other programs, which you do want and actually choose to download. If you aren't too cluey about how to detect Spyware in a potential download (and let's face it, who is), you simply won't know that you've downloaded and activated the Spyware software.
What does Spyware do? It collects information about you and your business or organization to help advertising companies place better targeted advertising copy on the websites you visit. That is, advertising that may actually be of interest to you. OK, in theory, it's a reasonable idea. You are going to be surfing anyway and these days websites survive thanks to their advertising, so wouldn't you rather see ads that may be of some relevance to you? For example, if you are sitting at a computer in New York, Spyware will tell advertisers your geographical position and hence target ads that are relevant to New Yorkers (restaurants and stores in the area or events taking place in the area). If you happen to visit the same website from Paris, those ads will be French ads.
How does Spyware work? Once the software program sneaks into your computer (via some download you've made, for example, Kazaa) it follows you around as you surf the net. It collects information about you from your hard drive. It sounds illegal doesn't it? Well, it isn't. Not yet anyway.
What it is really interested in is your surfing history. It wants to collate all the information that will help advertising companies better target you as a consumer. And so, it collects information on what you like to read online, which websites you browse to and, most valuable of all, where you go shopping on the Internet and what you buy.
But once in your system Spyware can be very annoying. At its worst it can severely impair your computer's ability to function, using up to 50% of its memory. It doesn't do it on purpose, it's not vicious like a virus, but it is destructive whether it wants to be or not. It can block your Internet access and just generally cause your computer to be so slow that you cannot use it without banging your head on your keyboard. Or, unless you format your hard drive.
There are lots of ways to protect your computer from this menace. Spyware removal programs help you track Spyware and purge your system of the software. Try an Internet search for Free Spyware Removal or Free Spyware Removal Program. This will bring up various results including the Lavasoft's Ad-Aware program, which is the most popular. Some websites will also offer you a Free Spyware Removal or Adware Removal online.
Dean Erickson. Journalist, and web site builder Dean Erickson lives in Texas. He is the owner and co-editor of www.free-spyware-removal-finder.info on which you will find a longer, more detailed version of this article.