Spyware Can Do You and Your Computer Irreparable Harm
It’s a fact. Spyware can go undetected on your computer for years. Allowing you to continue using your computer and the Internet as usual. Yet it’s surreptitiously following your movements. And it’s highly likely capturing your personal and financial info. So there is no need to worry about uninstalling spyware, right? Wrong.
In mild cases, Spyware infringes upon your privacy because it can track and take note of your usage patterns and report this information back to the company who created it. Helping them build marketing profiles to sell to you. In serious cases – it will capture your personal and/or financial info, steal your identity and sell it on the Dark Web.
More than that, some spywares have the ability to register and take note of keystrokes, scan documents within your computer’s hard drive, steal your passwords and other sensitive information which can make you the victim of identity theft and create other negative situations where your personal information can be used to compromise your security.
Spyware is more covert than Adware. As said, it can weave itself into your computer and stay undetected for years.
This means as you go about your Internet business, you are under surveillance and your basic right to privacy is impinged upon. In some cases, Spyware software is set up to intentionally harm your computer.
What this nasty software does is create pathways wherein someone else outside the computer owner’s purview, (a hacker), can communicate with the computer via the software. Allowing the software, and the hacker, to capture a wide variety of information. Everything from bank and credit card sites you visit, personal and financial account information located on your computer, to purchases you make online. And much more.
Here are the top 2 reasons this information is usually gathered:
1) This information can be sold to web advertisers to allow them to send you unwanted emails and pop-ups advertising their products or services. Perhaps even force you to purchase products and services from them. It can force your computer to use a web-browser which redirects you to their sales pages or pages set up to gather more financial and/or personal information.
2) Your information may be gathered to be sold to other cyber-criminals who will exploit the information, steal your logins and passwords and gain entrance into your financial and personal accounts.
When they’ve done as much exploiting, and stolen as much info as they can from you, your information is then usually placed on the Dark Web (‘black market’) where it can be purchased by others. And, in effect, live on the Dark Web for years.
Spyware is more intrusive than Adware. Spywares have their own separate executable programs which can allow them to:
* Record your keystrokes
* Scan files on your hard disks
* Look at other applications you use to find ways of using them
* They can visit chat rooms or chat programs you use, using your log-ins
* They can add cookies (which also follow you).
* Can change your browser settings plus your computer’s network configurations.
Spyware and Adware are usually bundled together with legitimate freeware or shareware and cannot be run independently of each other. In short, when you download some types of softwares and apps, both malwares infiltrate your computer.
With some infections, malware or viruses, Spyware isn’t evident as the bad guy; allowing it to continue on its nefarious way, circulating throughout your computer, gathering privileged info and passing it along to cyber-criminals for years. That said, it’s best to have a blocker to help prevent infections from occurring in the first place.
Regardless how often you use the Internet, you are not exempt to the threat of Spyware and Adware programs. That said, you should immediately disabuse yourself of the belief you are safe if you use the Internet irregularly and for short periods of time.
What is Adware:
Often Adware programs are actually legitimate programs which try to promote a certain product or service to online users like you. Some Adware programs are relatively safe and may do no more than quickly advertising a certain product to you with a popup.
You are always open to the possibility of being infected with Adware programs which can become a hassle and a problem in more ways than you may realize. For example – while surfing online, you may suddenly experience a window popping up in the lower right-hand corner of your desktop. This can be an example of an Adware. You might click a link to a product or service you’re interested in, while online. And end up with Adware installed into your computer.
Unfortunately that Adware program may begin bombarding your desktop, repeatedly with ads, until the programs overwhelm your computer and cause it to consistently crash. Or prohibit you from accessing the Internet with your usual browser.
If Adware is bundled up with Spyware it’s entirely possible some malicious programs attached themselves to files within your computer once you downloaded freeware, such as software or an app This could mean every time you turn on the computer, or as you use it, you find yourself entangled in these ads, their frustrating and distracting machinations making you unable to delete or stop them from running. In time, these Adware programs can overwhelm your computer and force it to shut itself down. Causing the loss of some of your information.
There are also other malicious programs and applications which may have be added to products you may have download into your computer.
These Spyware programs can be a problem in a number of ways. There are Spyware programs which can monitor your computer use as well as your browsing habits. The information is recorded and sent to someone else online who might be interested in purchasing and using this data for their own criminal reasons.
This type of Spyware program can make it easy for hackers to continue to return to the well, retrieving sensitive personal information from your computer on a regular basis. If this comes as a shock, this next statement will shock you out of your socks – Other spyware programs can scan files on your hard drive secretly, attach other spyware programs into your computer’s network system, install and lock its own brand of web browser and many other malicious things. Unbeknownst to you.
Given the security risks, the invasion of your right to privacy, and the annoying effects of Spyware, you would be wise to uninstall these programs from your computer the moment you discover them. However, to uninstall them from your system may not be such a simple task. And you may end up taking it to a pro who can handle the issue.
On the other hand, Anti-Adware and Spyware programs usually have a database of known malicious programs which enable them to identify Spyware or Adware and block them out. In short, denying them continued access to your computer. These useful programs may also have removal tools available that may help you rid your system of malicious Spyware or Adware.
10 Ways to Protect Your Computer From Spyware:
1. Your computer must have some type of anti-virus software within it protecting
your computer 24/7.
2. Do some research and determine whether you need an Adware or Spyware
blocker. Purchase it from a reliable company you know and trust.
3. Steer clear of freeware and shareware. It can live in your computer for years
and do your computer irreparable harm. Not to mention it usually comes
burdened with Spyware.
4. Remove Adware or Spyware the moment you discover it – this is a must.
5. ‘Block’ emails sent by Adware and Spyware companies. If you have a Microsoft
Outlook email, this is easy to do.
6. Take your computer to a pro if you’re unable to eliminate Adware or Spyware.
Do it the moment you begin to experience continued slow-downs and
7. Beware of emails with links which require you to submit personal or financial
info. This may be from Spyware companies trying to capture more info.
8. Run a computer scan on a daily or every-other-day basis if you’re regularly on
9. Periodically defragment files in your computer. ‘Defragging’ not only shrinks
files to add more space, it removes unwanted or questionable files.
10: One more important thing you can do to protect yourself from unwittingly
downloading Adware and Spyware programs is to read the fine print.
When installing a new program into your computer, you are usually asked to tick off an option of whether you agree or disagree with the program’s end user license agreement (EULA). Do yourself a favor and read what is written in the agreement before agreeing to proceed with the installation. Many shareware and freeware programs come bundled with Spyware and Adware programs and in some cases you can learn more about them by reading the End User License Agreement carefully.
As always, it’s best to ensure there are no breaches in your system. Don’t and the worst case scenario is your identity is stolen, your personal and financial information sold on the Dark Net. Now – that – can cause serious pain.
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