Spyware: How Dangerous Is It?

If you own a personal computer, you need to be very aware of the dangers of spyware. Spyware is a type of computer software that loads onto your computer, and records personal information from your computer. Most of the time, you do not know that the software is even loaded onto your computer, until you find that your identity has been stolen. Spyware makes your computer run slower, and puts your identity in terrible danger. Spyware records information secretly, and it does so in several different ways. Some types of spying software will record your keystrokes. The purpose of this action is to try to determine what your passwords are at important websites, such as your bank our credit card websites. Another way that spyware will record your information is through recording the websites you browse using your Internet web browser.

While this may not seem critical, a criminal can learn a lot about you just by seeing what websites you frequent. And when you combine this type of spying with logging keystrokes, your identity is at risk! The most dangerous type of spying software is the type that scans your hard disk. This type is usually trying to find your personal information so that they can take advantage of your credit card and passwords.

Where Spyware Comes From

Spyware is not like a virus that is spread through contact with other computers, such as through e-mail. Instead, your computer is infected with spyware often through software you intended to download. For example, you may choose to download a tool bar or other piece of software, and the spying software will piggy back on that software, so you download it without even knowing it. This is particularly true of free shareware downloads. Other types of spying software will download on the computer by tricking the user into downloading it. This is called the Trojan horse method of installation. You might be told that your computer is at risk, and that you need to download the software to protect your computer. You think you are downloading security software, but in fact you are not, you are putting your computer at risk through spyware.

Spyware can also load on your computer through security holes in whatever Web browser you are using. This happens because the website that houses the spyware forces the download to occur the moment the user surfs to the site. The security hole in the Web browser allows it to happen. Protecting yourself and your computer from this malicious type of software is crucial to keeping your personal information safe. There are several safe, and free, spyware protection software programs on the market today. Make sure you install one, and use it!