What is Spyware?
Spyware is a broad term used for software that collects personal information or changes the configuration of your computer without your consent. The information collected can be used for identity theft, fraud, or spamming.
Signs of Spyware infection:
- You see pop-up ads even when you are not using the internet.
- Your homepage has changed and you didn't change it.
- New toolbars appear in your browser that you did not install.
- Your computer becomes slow and unresponsive.
- Your computer begins to crash often.
What is the difference in Spyware and Adware?
Spyware programs actively record user information and return that information to it's creator without the user's consent. Spyware is often malicious, intrusive, and destructive. Some spyware programs will even download and install other spyware programs or viruses.
Adware is often bundled with "freeware" or "shareware" programs that are available online, and is usually installed with a user's permission. Many "freeware" or "shareware" programs include Adware to pay for program development. Having the adware installed is considered the trade off for use of the free program. Adware is similar to Spyware in that it does collect personal information to send back to its creator.
How do I prevent Spyware infection?