What is Spyware?

Are you wondering what is spyware and what does it do? Has your computer become so slow that you need to turn it on at least 15 minutes ahead of time to be ready when you are? Spyware tends to cause this problem. Spyware tracks your internet surfing habits, sends you pesky pop up ads and even sends you to certain websites. There are three types of spyware: spyware, adware and malware – each affecting you computer differently.

The following are general definitions of what is spyware, adware and malware:

Spyware: Programs that are loaded onto your computer without your knowledge or consent that collect information from your computer and send it back to the originator. The information can range from the types of web sites you frequent or purchase items from to personal information such as bank account numbers. Some spyware is used for marketing purposes and others are used for malicious purposes.

Adware: This software is used to place ads on your computer. Some of it will put the pop-ups we try so hard to eliminate from the web browser. Malicious adware will load itself and start shooting pop-up ads on your screen even though you don’t have your browser open, or it will continually re-open the browser with the ad web page.

Malware: This software is the closest to being a virus. When loaded and running these applications will only allow you to go to one pre-determined web site when you open your internet browser. Malware can also keep your browser from opening or block your internet access altogether.

Some people think they have a virus rather than spyware. A virus is meant to do permanent harm to your computer or operating system. A spyware program hides in the background of your operating system and gathers information or makes changes to how you use the computer. Most spyware targets Windows operating systems.

What Does Spyware Do?
Once “what is spyware” is answered you probably want to know what spyware does to your computer. Most spyware runs in the background as you start up your computer and uses up a lot of memory. It can install many pop-up ads and slow your computer down. It can reset your home page and redirect your web search, controlling what you see.

Some spyware will change your internet settings. If you use dial-up it can redirect your modem to use expensive non-local telephone numbers. It could change your firewall settings so more unwanted spyware can get in. And it can even prevent you from removing it.

About Ramon Corley

Ramon Corley is CEO and co-founder of Magic Lynx, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses.

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