Beware Of Spyware Steps To Take To Protect Your Computer

Beware Of Spyware Steps To Take To Protect Your Computer

Beware Of Spyware -- Steps To Take To Protect Your Computer
Spyware refers to​ malicious software that takes partial control of​ a​ computer's operation through unauthorized access without the​ computers owners' knowledge or​ consent,​ and has become one of​ the​ biggest security threats to​ computer users today.
Spyware exploits infected computers for commercial gain,​ usually by including unsolicited pop-up advertisements; by monitoring the​ users' online activities; by routing http requests to​ advertising sites; or​ by stealing personal information such as​ financial information .​
In fact,​ it​ is​ estimated that identity-thieves have stolen over US$ 24 billion worth of​ account information in​ the​ United States alone.
Spyware most often infects a​ computer by piggybacking on​ a​ desirable software and the​ user unknowingly downloading and installing it .​
Spyware also often lurks in​ rogue anti-spyware programs that pretend to​ be security software .​
Spyware also comes bundled with shareware or​ other downloadable software and music CDs.
Yet another method of​ distributing spyware involves tricking computer users by manipulating security features designed to​ prevent unwanted installations .​
For example,​ surfers using the​ Internet Explorer web browser may unwittingly click on​ a​ command prompt that appears to​ be a​ Windows dialog box,​ when in​ actual fact it​ initiates the​ spyware download.
With the​ spyware threat worsening,​ several anti-spyware programs have emerged that are designed to​ counteract or​ remove spyware .​
Programs such as​ Ad-Aware SE and Spybot - Search & Destroy are some of​ the​ more popular and effective tools to​ remove and intercept spyware programs .​
Microsoft has also released Windows AntiSpyware to​ combat the​ spyware problem .​
Other popular anti-spyware programs include Spy Sweeper,​ Spyware Doctor,​ XoftSpy,​ and CounterSpy.
Anti-virus firms Symantec,​ McAfee and Sophos,​ while reluctant initially to​ add anti-spyware features to​ their anti-virus products,​ have finally added anti-spyware features to​ the​ recent versions of​ their anti-virus products.
Computer users have also become savvier in​ detecting spyware .​
Many users now install a​ web browser other than Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE),​ such as​ Opera or​ Mozilla Firefox which are not as​ vulnerable as​ IE is​ to​ spyware - though that is​ not to​ say that Opera and Firefox have not suffered from similar security vulnerabilities .​
No one single browser is​ 100% safe,​ as​ security all depends on​ the​ person using the​ browser.
Some internet service providers,​ especially colleges and universities,​ block spyware by using their network firewalls and web proxies to​ block access to​ Web sites known to​ install spyware.
Spyware sometimes hide in​ shareware programs offered for download,​ so downloading programs only from reputable sources provides some protection from this source of​ attack.

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