What Is Spyware? Essay

937 words - 4 pages

Spyware is any type of software that gathers information's through the user's internet connection without his or her knowledge. It performs certain behaviors such as advertising, collecting personal information or changing the configuration of your computer, without the user's permission. Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet. Spyware monitors user activity on the internet and transmits that information back to its creators. It can also gather info about e-mail address and even passwords and credit card numbers.Spyware is similar to a Trojan horse in that users unwittingly install the product when they install something else. A common way to become a victim of Spyware is to download certain peer-to-peer file swapping products that are available today such as the infamous Kazaa, Emule, Bearshare and Imesh but these programs offer non-ad supported versions and no Spyware on the purchased versions. Spyware steals from the user by using the computer's memory resources and also by eating bandwidth as it sends information back to the Spyware's author via the user's Internet connection. Because Spyware is using memory and system resources, the applications running in the background can lead to system crashes or general system instability.Spyware exists as independent executable programs and has the power to monitor key strokes, scan files on your hard drive, read chat programs and word documents, send advertisements, read cookies, track internet activity, hijack default home page on the internet browser and constantly send information back to the author via an internet connection. Licensing agreements that accompany software downloads warn the user that it contains Spyware but may not always be read, because it is usually in hard to read disclaimers.Signs of Spyware:You see pop-up advertisements even when you're not on the Web.The page your Web browser first opens to (your home page) or your browser searchsettings have changed without your knowledge.You notice a new toolbar in your browser that you didn't want, and find it difficult to get rid of.Your computer takes longer than usual to complete certain tasksYou experience a sudden rise in computer crashesPOP-UPS.Pop-up Ads may bombard you PC constantly and will not be related to anything you are visiting these ads are mostly contain things of adult nature and are a hassle to remove. If you see pop-up ads as soon as you turn your pc on or when you are not browsing the internet you may be a victim of Spyware.Hijacked Home Page or Search Page Settings.Some Spyware has the ability to "hijack" or change you homepage or search page settings. Even if you know how to remove this problem it usually returns after you restart your computer.Extra Toolbars or Additional Components not Downloaded.Spyware can also put many unwanted features on your computer and can add additional toolbars to your web...

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