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What is Spyware? Information for Newbies To Internet. –  By: Fred Horstman December 20, 2013

When you are surfing the internet it is normal to see pop-up ads, right? What a lot of people don’t realize is that this software may have made it possible for those ads to make their way onto their computers. By the time that you figure out what is behind the ads, the spyware pop-ups may have gotten so bad that your only choice is to completely reconfigure your computer and just hope that the pop-ups don’t come back. And the pop-ups will keep ob returning, if your only mechanism to fight against the spyware is hope. 

What is Spyware Exactly?

Malware logo Crystal 128.

Malware logo Crystal 128. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spyware is a type of software which gets onto your computer and is generally used to gather your personal information and then send advertisements to you, normally in the form of a pop-up ad. Spyware software can also change your computer configuration as well as many other potentially harmful things. Even though the term spyware may suggest that the software is simply monitoring action in a secretive way, the purpose of spyware usually goes well beyond this. The party responsible for creating and distributing this software is often profiting greatly through targeted advertising or selling off your personal information.

When this software is on a computer, it generally is hidden from the user. A study carried out by AOL and the National Cyber-Security Alliance showed that 60% of user’s computers were infected with spyware. Of all of these users, 90% of them were not aware that their computers were even infected. 90% of the users claimed that they had not granted permission for the spyware software to be installed. Since then, spyware has become increasingly sophisticated and is often impossible to detect on a user’s computer. Even worse, once detected, some spyware is impossible to remove.

Difference between Spyware and Adware

how adware becomes spyware (or popware)

how adware becomes spyware (or popware) (Photo credit: Esthr)

The terms spyware and adware are often used interchangeably. Both of these terms are used to describe software which can display advertisements. However, there is one major difference between these two: spyware gets onto the user’s computer through illicit means.

With adware, the user agrees to have the adware program installed in exchange for something else. For example, the program Eudora will allow users access to shareware for free but they must agree to receive advertisements. The key word here is “agree.” Adware will not attempt to mislead users and is offered in exchange for a service.

An example of adware includes the file sharing program Eudora. Rather than asking users to pay a registration fee, it asks them to agree to receive advertisements. On the other hand, Gator software is a type of spyware. When users visit certain websites, a software is installed on the users’ computer through some sort of deceptive manner. The company behind Gator as well as the website where the spyware was installed will both receive revenue.

I hope this has given you a basic idea about spyware. If you are interested in learning more make a search for “spyware” or look for more articles on spyware from this author.

About the Author

Author: Fred Horstman has done many things in his long life. He will continue to do many more things. His present goal is to help newbies to Internet Marketing with useful information and suggestions. You can follow him on Twitter (fredgarden8) or check out his blog more right here at: https://oldienewbies.wordpress.com

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