The Anti-Spyware Coalition (a group of companies that include EarthLink, Microsoft, and Hewlett-Packard) have recently published a document that defines spyware as such: “Spyware impairs users’ control over material changes that affect their user experience, privacy or system security; use of their system resources, including what programs are installed on their computers; or collection, use and distribution of their personal or otherwise sensitive information”
How does Spyware get on your computer?
The user is the #1 cause of spyware! Some examples are downloading programs for emoticons and cursor affects, most of which are free, include attached or embedded spyware, pop-ups that claim to be software updates or needed to view the page and website visits.
SECURITY RISK : What will Spyware do to my computer and information?
Spyware programs are unstable. They cause your computer to run slower, certain programs stop working, and on occasion, you see the dreaded “blue screen of death”. Consider the time Spyware eats up, taking you away from other important issues – it kills productivity in the office and at home!
- Record keystrokes (usernames, passwords, email, phone number, physical address, name, credit card number, etc.)
- Read your files
- Watch your word processing program
- Change your internet home page
- Add and delete files and toolbars
- Read your cookies
- Crash your browser
- Barrage of Pop-Up Advertisements (on and off the web) with adult content, scams and links to questionable sites
- Random Error Messages
- They can update themselves leading to more and worse malware!