Spyware: What It Is and How to Combat It

Spyware is software or hardware installed on a computer without the user's knowledge which gathers information about that user for later retrieval by whomever controls the spyware.

Spyware can be broken down into two different categories, surveillance spyware and advertising spyware.

Surveillance software includes key loggers, screen capture devices, and trojans. These would be used by corporations, private detectives, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, suspicious spouses, etc.

Advertising spyware is software that is installed alongside other software or via activex controls on the internet, often without the user's knowledge, or without full disclosure that it will be used for gathering personal information and/or showing the user ads. Advertising spyware logs information about the user, possibly including passwords, email addresses, web browsing history, online buying habits, the computer's hardware and software configuration, the name, age, sex, etc of the user.

As with spam, advertising spyware uses the CPU, RAM, and resources of the user's computer, making the user pay for the costs associated with operating it. It then makes use of the user's bandwidth to connect to the internet and upload whatever personal information it has gathered, and to download advertisements which it will present to the user, either by way of pop up windows, or with the ad banners of ad-supported software. All of this can be considered theft in the cases of advertising spyware that installs without disclosure.

And while anti-virus software like Symantec's Norton Anti- Virus or McAfee's ViruScan can offer some protection, one of the best ways to combat spyware is with anti-spy software. Two of the best are Lavasoft's Ad-aware and Spybot's Search & Destroy, which are available as free downloads.



The free version of Ad-aware does not proactively protect against spyware infestation. You have to start the Ad-aware application and initiate a scan to detect spyware. But the paid version, Ad-aware Plus does remain alert in the background, like Spybot, to deflect any attempts at infestation. In recent tests, Ad-aware Plus and Spybot both protected systems extremely well.

If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend installing Microsoft's Service Pack 2. SP2 tightens your PC's security with a new Windows Firewall, an improved Automatic Updates feature, and a pop-up ad blocker for Internet Explorer. Plus, the newly minted Security Center gives you one easy-to-use interface for keeping tabs on your PC's security apps.

There are also other steps you can take to protect against spyware. One simple step is to switch from Microsoft's browsers, which have security holes for spyware programs to exploit. A good alternative is Mozilla Firefox. Another not- so-simple step is switching to the Mac or Linux operating systems, which don't have spyware problems.

About The Author

Dean Phillips is an Internet marketing expert, writer, publisher and entrepreneur. Questions? Comments? Dean can be reached at mailto: dean@lets-make-money.net

Double your income! Internet marketing expert, Dean Phillips will teach you how to double your income, starting today...Guaranteed! For details just visit my website: Website: http://www.lets-make-money.net; dean@lets-make-money.net

In The News:

pen paper and inkwell

cat break through

Know-how in Microsoft Publisher

For those who still don't know, Microsoft Publisher helps computer... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains ? Licensing & Product Versions

Current Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains has more that 10... Read More

Introduction To ISDN, Part III: PAP

Introduction To ISDN, Part III: Configuring PPP PAP AuthenticationNow we... Read More

Microsoft Retail Management System (RMS) SQL Customization ? Overview for Programmer

Microsoft Retail Management System serves retail single store as well... Read More

Monitoring Software Can be Used for Spying as Well

We all already got used to computer monitoring both at... Read More

Microsoft CRM Integration with IBM Lotus Notes Domino ? Machinery Dealership Example

IBM Lotus Notes with Domino email server is traditional document... Read More

Free Software: How Not To Get More Than You Bargained For!

I completed an experiment recently. I wanted to find out... Read More

Unofficial Windows 98 SE Service Pack 2.0 RC2

Microsoft has never released a service pack for Windows98 SE,... Read More

Three Steps To Windows Safety Heaven

Now there are Three Steps To Heaven Just listen and... Read More

Builders Beware

Which Type of Shop Can Rely On A Home Built... Read More

IT Strategy for Large Corporation: ERP/MRP/CRM, Unix/Linux/Windows, Microsoft/Java

Combining Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains ERP with non-Microsoft Business... Read More

What Stands Behind The Software Description?

With thousands of web pages added to the Net every... Read More

How the Firefox: How to... Manual Helped Me

A few months back I really got sick of my... Read More

Microsoft Great Plains version 8.5: Upgrade, Customization, VBA, Crystal Reports - Highlights

Microsoft Great Plains is one of the Microsoft Business Solutions... Read More

Will Adobe Manage to Replace Industry Work Horse Quark Express by Giving Adobe InDesign for Free?

And kill the best layout software in the process of... Read More

Crystal Reports for Microsoft Great Plains ? Overview for Developer

Microsoft Great Plains is main accounting / ERP application... Read More

Demand More From Your Lead Tracking Software

An integral part of any quality CRM system is lead... Read More

Microsoft CRM Implementation - US Market Lessons

Microsoft CRM is CRM answer from Microsoft Business Solutions. If... Read More

Microsoft eCommerce Web-development: Great Plains eConnect .Net ? Highlights for Programmer

In our small article we'll consider Microsoft Business Solutions Great... Read More

The Opera Alternative

Security flaws have long plagued Internet Explorer (IE), the market-dominating... Read More

Groove Network. Are you in it?

If you are in a business that passes documents around... Read More

Simple Solution for Php Includes - IFrames

I have recently created my first Php program. I wanted... Read More

What is Shareware?

Shareware is software that you can try before you buy;... Read More

Groupware: Answers the 5 Questions of Document Collaboration

Every organization which creates collaborative documents, whether they are budgets,... Read More

Screenshots Vista Windows

Features Additionally, Vista will include many other new features.Aero Vista... Read More

Healthcare Preventive Maintenance Software

Healthcare facilities such as clinics, hospitals, and biomedical laboratories can... Read More

The Religion And Philosophy Of Small Internet Business

I have always had a tendency to focus on the... Read More

CRM and Customer Life Cycle

Customer Relationship Management or CRM is a combination of enterprise... Read More

How To Identify, Cure and Prevent Spyware/Adware Infections

Just when you thought you were Web savvy, one more... Read More

Microsoft CRM Customization ? Programming Closed Email Activity

Microsoft CRM is CRM answer from Microsoft and attempt to... Read More

Accessing XML Using Java Technologies

The most important benefit of XML is its simplicity. Though... Read More

How To Create A Data Capture Procedure Checklist For Your Small Business CRM Software

Fortunately one of the most common reasons cited for the... Read More

Microsoft CRM Implementation for Large Corporation ? overview

Microsoft Business Solutions CRM is now approaching the phase of... Read More