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Spyware Blocking Software Information

April 19th, 2009

Spyware consists of malicious software that is installed on a personal computer without the owner’s consent. This software can take partial control over the computer system or otherwise work to detract from its performance. Spyware is not the only name by which this sort of offensive software is known, as it has also been labelled adware, foistware, malware, or crapware by particularly frustrated victims. Whilst these different varieties of software accomplish diverse goals, they are grouped together under the title of spyware. Because spyware is an annoying and unwanted addition to any computer, it resorts to trickery to convince the user to install it. No computer owner will knowingly install malicious software on their computer –- spyware succeeds in deceiving them either by attaching itself to a more desirable download or by pretending to be a useful program.

Internet pop-ups are a dangerous ally for spyware authors. Adverts offering services such as improved Internet speed can be riddled with spyware, leaving the user with no chance for escape. Whether accepting or declining the offer, merely clicking on the pop-up can start the malicious download.

The uses of spyware vary, but one of the most common is to monitor the computer user’s Internet habits. This is common with adware software, as it tailors specific adverts to what it believes will compliment the user’s tastes. Whilst annoying, this isn’t the main threat that spyware carries. More maliciously, it can gain information about users’ email addresses, passwords, credit card numbers and more. This is then sent back to the spyware’s creator, allowing for the possibility for identity theft and fraud.

Whilst a single piece of spyware is unlikely to completely disable a computer, it will rarely be alone. Computers vulnerable to this type of software are more likely to have dozens or maybe even hundreds of infections. Additionally, many varieties of spyware serve to attack the computer’s natural Internet defences like firewalls. This works to further weaken the computer, making it even more vulnerable.

Children and teenagers are believed to be more likely to contract spyware infections in their computers. This comes about both from Internet browsing habits (they are more likely to use suspicious programs) and from general ignorance about the dangers of malicious software. Whilst spyware can be hidden in almost anything, it is more commonly found in peer-to-peer music sharing programs, free online games, song lyric sites, musical information websites, and free screensaver downloads. These are not uniquely utilised by children and teenagers, but they are the more common targets.

Spyware can be difficult to cleanse from a computer, and prevention is definitely the most effective method. By taking care when downloading programs and performing frequent scans, you can severely reduce the dangers of malicious software.

However, spyware blocking and removing programs are easily found on the Internet, although it is best to choose a recognised brand such as StopZilla. These are not only likely to be more efficient but are less likely to have a hidden spyware infection, created by authors with a keen sense of irony.

About the Author

Phil Copple (username Cophilie) is a freelance writer who has a current total of 11 articles for sale at Constant Content. So far he has managed to sell five usage and two full rights licenses.

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