Spyware is a malicious code installed secretly on your PC without your consent. spyware programs may collect various information from your PC such as Browsed History, redirecting browser to unwanted sites or advertisements. It can also change computer settings, generally this malicious tool comes bundled with shareware programs or some other applications. Information collected by spyware is mostly used for marketing leads or advertising. These programs can also scan files, programs, chats and change default home page.
Because spyware exists as independent executable programs, they have the ability to monitor keystrokes, scan files on the hard drive, snoop other applications, such as chat programs or word processors, install other spyware programs, read cookies, change the default home page on the Web browser.
How Does Spyware work?
In order to lure more people, Spyware often uses shareware or some software that can be downloaded along with it. When such software is installed on the system, it also installs the Spyware along with it. The desirable software is harmless, while the Spyware proves to be dangerous. In many cases, it has been observed that shareware authors are paid by Spyware authors to bundle Spyware with their software.
Often windows security features, which are designed to prevent installations that are not needed, are manipulated. Internet explorer doesn’t allow unwanted downloads but when a pop up window linked to Spyware appears and is clicked on the Spyware download begins.
Another method of inserting Spyware is the drive-by-download method. Here, the security loopholes of the browser are exploited. When a certain website, which is controlled by the Spyware author, is browsed the browser is attacked with the help of codes and a forced installation and download of the Spyware is brought about. For this, the author of the Spyware program needs an extensive knowledge about the usually used anti-viruses and firewalls. Usually, Internet explorers and Sun Java run time fall prey to this method. Since Internet Explorer has been deeply integrated with windows, it is the absolute favorite target of the attackers. Often Spyware attach themselves to IE in the form of a toolbar and redirect the internet traffic.
There have also been cases where a virus or a worm delivers Spyware into the system. These worms specifically known as spy bot worms are usually used to install Spyware, which display pornographic sites in the web browser. Thus, they divert the traffic to such ads which act as a source of income for them.
Effects of Spyware
A spyware may result in Computer crashes, slow Internet issues, Malfunction of programs. It starts consuming memory resources. Free products like screensavers, clip-art, emoticons generally download such small spyware codes as well.
There have also been cases where a virus or a worm delivers Spyware into the system. These worms specifically known as spybot worms are usually used to install Spyware, which display pornographic sites in the web browser. Thus, they divert the traffic to such ads which act as a source of income for them.
How can it be prevented or cured?
Increased Spyware threats have led to the emergence of several techniques that control and eliminate these threats totally. Various programs are now available that can block and remove Spyware on the system. This doesn’t alter the fact that Spyware proves to be a costly affair. When a windows system has been affected by sets of multiple spywares the only corrective measure is to reinstall the OS and back up the data.
There are several commercially available anti Spyware programs available, some of them are free for home users and are paid services for commercial users.
There are lot of fake anti spyware and adware cleaning tools which get installed as Anti malware but are actually infections leaking out your personal information to outer world. These so called anti Spyware softwares are often spyware disguised as anti-Spyware software. Therefore, one must always select anti-Spyware from a trusted source as the ones mentioned earlier.
Since Spyware is not completely illegal and is found almost everywhere on the Internet in its disguised forms, it becomes difficult to fight it. However, a user who is aware of these threats can always stay a step ahead and protect him from these dangers of the cyber-world and enjoy the best moments of his cyber life without the consented intervention of third parties into his personal domain.
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