Sunday, November 16, 2008

Information on spyware

Spyware is a dangerous software or small piece of code that has been written especially to obtain the user's personal information like credit card numbers, social security number, online passwords, or similar information or to monitor the computer user's online activities. Spyware is usually programmed in such a manner that it installs itself without the computer user's knowledge and in majority of the cases the person may not be even aware about the fact that his/her activities are being observed. most spyware programs can also hijack home page settings, show unsolicited popup ads and download and install software, trojans or other malicious spyware applications. Spyware deletion can be sometimes problematic because they are often invisible from the user.

Earlier the term "spyware" applied to computer hardware that was intended for espionage purposes. However, after being mentioned in a press release in late 2000 by Gregor Freud, the founder of Zone Labs, the word has taken on its present meaning. Today, almost everyone who is familiar with computers and the World Wide Web may be aware of virus programs, spyware applications and trojans.

Spy-ware usually are installed by exploiting vulnerabilities in the computer software or when the computer user mistakenly installs infested or "tagged" files from removable media. The primary difference between viruses and spyware is that dissimilar to virus applications, apyware applications do not replicate that is, make exact copies of themselves and infest other computers. Some trojans also download and install spyware without the user's permission.

Windows is more insecure to spyware and other such malicious programs. Apple Mac OS and other operating systems like GNU/Linux and BSD are more secure when compared to Microsoft Windows. There is a lot of debating on why there are few spyware targeting Linux and FreeBSD. Some that these operating systems are inherently less vulnerable and it is problematic to program spyware programs to run on these platforms. Other security analysts claim that because the market penetration of these OSes is much lower when compared to Microsoft Windows, spyware authors do not think that it is worth the effort to develop spyware applications specifically for these operating systems.

If you use a Windows based computer, it is advised to daily update your OS to stay safe from spyware and other malware. Windows update files contain fixes and patches to software loopholes. It is also recommended to switch to another Web browser like Mozilla Firefox or Opera in place of the default Internet Explorer. These browsers are much more secure and can help in maintaining your computer spyware free.

You should also download a genuine virus removal software and update it regularly. Most good anti-virus tools can detect spyware. However, you can also install spyware removal software along with anti-virus software for maximum security. A firewall should also be installed. Most anti-virus packages or Internet security suites, as they are called, come with a firewall as well.

* For more info see the free spyware removal page.

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