What is SPYWARE?

is an actual software program that sends information from a user's computer without their knowledge whenever the computer connects to the Internet. Spyware covertly gathers the user’s information through their Internet connection, usually for advertising purposes.

Where Does it Come From?

Spyware applications are typically downloaded as hidden components of freeware or shareware programs. They can also be loaded without the user's consent by clicking on certain options in deceptive pop-up windows.

What Does It Do?

Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Usually the information sent is harmless, mostly concerned with general marketing information like spending habits rather than specifics like credit card numbers, e-mail addresses or passwords, although some programs are capable of retrieving this specific information as well.

Because spyware exists as independent executable programs, they have the ability to monitor keystrokes, scan files on the hard drive, install other spyware programs, read cookies, change the default home page on the Web browser, consistently relaying this information back to the spyware author who will use it for marketing purposes or sell the information to another party.

How Does This Affect My Computer?

Because spyware uses memory and system resources, the applications running in the background can lead to system crashes or general system instability. Additionally, spyware programs are sometimes poorly written, containing bugs that cause the computer to malfunction.

What You Can Do…

Do Not agree to any unnecessary downloads that pop-up while on the Internet.

Do Not click in the body of any pop-ups (only "x" out from the top right corner).

Do Not open or download any e-mails that may contain a virus.

Do Not respond to ANY e-mails that ask if you want to be removed from their list (this will only verify to them that your e-mail address is an active account).

Do install a virus scanning software such as Norton Antivirus or PC-Cillin.

Do instruct your kids and family members about "safe" navigating on the Internet.