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Spyware

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Spyware

There are many PC surveillance tools that allow a user to monitor all kinds of activity on a computer, ranging from keystroke capture, snapshots, email logging, and chat logging just to name a few. These tools are often designed for parents, businesses and similar environments, but can be easily abused if they are installed on your computer without your knowledge. Tools such as these are perfectly legal in most places, but if they are abused, they can seriously violate your privacy. In the more recent years of technology, Spyware has risen as a privacy, security, and functionality issue.

What is Spyware

What exactly is Spyware? Spyware is computer software that is installed on a personal computer to intercept or take partial control over the user’s interaction with the computer, without the user’s informed consent (Wikipedia). Spyware is any technology that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge. On the internet (where it is sometimes called spybot or tracking software), Spyware is programming that is put in someone’s computer secretly gathering information about the user and relaying it to advertisers or other interested parties. Spyware can get in a computer as a software virus or as the result of installing a new program.

While the term Spyware suggests software that secretly monitors the user's behavior, the functions of Spyware extend well beyond simple monitoring and it is legal. Spyware programs can collect various types of personal information, such as Internet surfing habit, sites that have been visited, but can also interfere with user control of the computer in other ways, such as installing additional software, redirecting Web Browser activity, accessing websites blindly that will cause more harmful viruses, or diverting advertising revenue to a third party. Spyware can even change computer settings, resulting in slow connection speeds, different home pages, and loss of Internet or other programs.

Recognizing and Avoiding Spyware

Many experienced Web users have learned how to recognize Spyware, avoid it, and delete it. According to officials at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, all computer users should get wise to the signs that Spyware has been installed on their machines, and then take the appropriate steps to delete it (Federal Trade Commission).

The clues that Spyware is on a computer include:

· a barrage of pop-up ads

· a hijacked browser — that is, a browser that takes you to sites other than those you type into the address box
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