Thursday, March 5, 2009

spyware and adware - what it is, and how to avoid it

The first thing you need to know about protecting yourself from these things is to totally understand what they do. 0nce you know what spyware and adware is, you'll be able to take measures against it infecting your machine.

What Is Spyware?
According to Microsoft, "spyware" is a malicious type of program with the aim of collecting personal information or changing the configuration of your computer. Spyware unethical, in that it is 0ften downloaded without your permission. Usually, you won't know it's even there when it enters your system, and you'll need to have spyware removal software installed in order to remove it.

What Is Adware?
The difference between spyware and adware is not large, and they are essentially the same kind of thing. With spyware, it is possible that your personal information could be given to another source. In other words, is "spying" on you, hence the name spyware. With adware, however, the software is designed primarily to display advertisements on the user's PC.
Is It All Bad?

It is unfortunate, but several people tend to believe that all types of this software are harmful and definitely should be avoided. That's not always the case. Of course, in most cases spyware adware are harmful and are not the kind of thing you want on your PC, but there are exceptions where you may actually want software like this on your PC.

Remember, to make it spyware it has to be downloaded to your computer without your consent. Spyware can sometimes be downloaded through things as "driveby" downloads or through other exploits, so that the user never even knows it is on their machine. Any program that is downloaded with the users permission is technically not spyware.

Why would you want to have spyware that tracks your personal information and surfing habits running on your computer? And more importantly, why would you want those advertisements? Well, there may be some exceptional cases be useful. For example, you may actually sign up for a service online and when you do you may also agree to receive targeted ads.

Companies like this find it useful to track where you go 0nline (monitoring your surfing habits) and looking at what you do, in order to provide you with ads that are highly targeted to your interests. For example, if you were to search for dog food, spyware company may give you advertising from dog food companies. So, rather than seeing annoying ads that have no interest to you, you may instead see things that are targeted and useful to what you are searching for.

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1 comment:

  1. Really good tips. There are some hiding spots for Adware in the system. Know about them.

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