Why Spyware Can Hurt You

By: Buzz Scott

Spyware can cause major problems for home and for business computer users. Steps need to be taken to prevent your computer from being infected by these programs that can steal information from you and use it for their own benefit and to your own detriment.

Spyware can be lurking on any computer at any time. Some programs are particularly evident because they place big restrictions on your computer's performance and flood your screen with pop-up advertisements. Other programs can be a bit more difficult to discover. As Adware and Spyware publishers get more creative, their programs can be difficult to detect. Multiple programs can be running on any unprotected computer at any given time.

Identity theft is a big problem today. Spyware programs can run in the background on your computer while you complete everyday tasks such as paying your bills online or doing some online shopping. Spyware can record your instant messaging conversations, track every website you visit and look at every keystroke you type (whether you save it or not). Everything on your computer hard drive can be compressed into little files and sent out to someone's email address and tells all kinds of your personal details. Photographs, e-mails and passwords can all be sent out in real time every time you connect to the Internet.

If your company computer becomes infected, this could cause major problems for your company with respect to trade secrets and other confidential information. Sharing files can spread these programs like wildfire. Many executable shareware programs can launch Adware in the form of an unobtrusive looking toolbar on your computer meant to make your life easier when in reality it's a cloaked Spyware program.

It's not always easy to avoid Spyware and prevent it from infecting your system. Through freeware, a download on a program such as Kazaa or Shareaza can easily infect your computer. It could be with something that seems as harmless as a few annoying pop-ups and slowed resources or something quite serious could be going on such as keyloggers tracking your passwords where destruction could be happening online with your credentials being listed as the culprit.

Running a Spyware fighting program can combat this problem if you're unfortunate enough to already be infected.
If you believe your computer is clean of these types of problems, you should arm yourself now. Fighting offensively against potential attacks is the best strategy to protect yourself and your privacy online.

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