Spyware is a program that is put into someone’s computer to secretly get information about a person or organization. These data collecting programs are installed without the user knowing. They may have received this program on their system by a ‘drive-by download’ , the result of clicking something on a pop-up, or from many other places. Spyware is not usually a nice program to have on your computer.
Spyware may invade your system by being secretly installed to search for personal information on your system. A ‘cookie’ is a well known mechanism for storing information about a user on a computer. If a cookie has information about you that you do not know about, it can be considered spyware because other programs could gather information from the cookie.
Aside from something or someone gathering information about you, general annoyance is the most common complaint about spyware. Spyware could result in other unwanted items on your computer such as system tray icons and changes in system functionality. Spyware invades privacy and is sometimes destructive. Occasionally, spyware can change registry settings or install undesired software. These are sometimes nearly impossible to fix or remove without re-installing your OS.
There are many virus protection suites that include the basic and necessary protection against spyware and adware. Most operating systems also offer the essentials. It is important to use software to protect against these issues. Aside from software, it is critical that you think about what you are doing online. Something on a website or pop-up may look safe or legitimate but it may just be a trick. Being careful of what you download and click on could be just enough to protect you and your system from this internet related issue that affects thousands of people.