Spyware 101: Understanding and Fighting Spyware

by: Doug Partridge

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 the 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 the wrong websites.

What is its purpose?

On the serious side, "Keyboard loggers" do just that - record the 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 the kind of Spyware that is largely responsible for online identity theft.

In the 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 the consensus is that if Adware records and submits information about you ... it falls under the category of Spyware.

How does it get on your computer?

In the case of the 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 the programs you install on your computer.

It's often said that Spyware can be installed on your PC "just by visiting the wrong website." This statement is absolutely true, but have you wondered how that's possible? After all, website operators do not usually have the ability to install programs on people's computer without their knowledge.

It's because hackers are able to exploit security vulnerabilities in web browsers (most commonly Internet Explorer). Usually Microsoft releases fixes for security vulnerabilities shortly after they are discovered - yet the average Windows user

1.) doesn't know about the vulnerability and

2.) doesn't know about the fix.

What this means is that most people go for long periods of time with vulnerable versions of Internet Explorer.

Removing the Menace

Legislators are hurrying to create laws banning Spyware ... wonderful, but how does this help you now? The bottom line, you need a dedicated Spyware removal program. Anti-Virus programs have proven ineffective in discovering and removing Spyware. In fact, the Anti-Virus vendors are just beginning to look out how they can incorporate this functionality into their programs. Again, this is serious problem that requires action now.

The good news is that there are several high-quality Spyware removal that will not only detect and remove Spyware, but will also provide "always on" protection to block new infections.

We've only just scratched the surface - please visit http://www.SpywareHelpCenter.com - this is a free website where you can learn more about Spyware and find a removal program that's right for you.

About The Author: Doug Partridge is the founder of Spyware Help Center, a free site dedicated to Spyware education and removal. Free Details => http://www.SpywareHelpCenter.com GoArticles