Spyware the Fastest Growing Internet Threat
Today, spyware infects more than 90% of all computers. The spyware programs bypasses your computer’s firewalls and anti-virus programs without your knowledge. Once installed the spyware ruins your computer’s performance and collects your personal information. Spyware isn’t like a virus or worm installed on your computer. Most spyware programs can’t self-replicate.
How does your computer get infected with spyware?
1. Downloaded and installed with freeware and shareware programs.
Many freeware and shareware programs embed spyware, attach spyware, or bundle spyware with your download. Once you’ve downloaded the program the spyware starts collecting data from your computer and sends the collected information to the spyware author. Many P2P file-sharing programs attach spyware programs to the download file.
Read the license agreement before installing any software on your computer. Many freeware and shareware publishes warn you that they will install a spyware program with the program you’ve downloaded. If the license agreement warns you about a spyware program, cancel the installation immediately.
2. Spyware programs can trick you into manipulating the security features on your computer.
Your Internet Explorer browser blocks unwanted downloads to your computer. When you click on different links they start installing spyware on your computer. No matter if you select yes or no the program’s designed to download to your system. The newer versions of Internet Explorer make it more difficult for this type of spyware to download to your computer.
3. Spyware programs attack the security holes in your Web browsers.
When selecting certain Web sites to visit the spyware author control the webpage’s. The web page has code that installs the spyware program to your computer.
Why are spyware programs dangerous?
- The spyware program’s monitors your keystrokes and send information to the author.
- The program scans the files on your hard drive.
- The spyware looks at the applications on your desktop.
- Many spyware installs other spyware programs on your computer.
- Reads your cookies and send the information to the author.
- Spyware steals passwords, financial information, credit card numbers, and personal data.
- Many spyware programs change your browser default settings.
- Can grow into a second generation spyware program, making it difficult to remove from your computer.
- Slows down your computer’s performance.
- When browsing the Internet sends pop-up messages to the Web pages.
- On different Web sites adds advertising links to the pages. The author of the Web site doesn’t receive payment for the advertising because the spyware programmer changed the affiliate settings.
- When installed on your computer the spyware program has no uninstall options. The program installs in unexpected or hidden places on your hard drive making it difficult to remove.
To prevent spyware from infecting your computer, invest in a commercial anti-spyware program. Furthermore, update your security patches and anti-virus software often. Scan your hard drive for hidden spyware programs and remove them immediately. Spyware authors penetrate the weakness inside Internet Explorer to attach their programs. Therefore, when downloading from the Internet only download files from reputable sites.