What is Spyware?

Two major groups of Spyware is Adware and Malware
The most of spyware is Adware. The main purpose of an adware program is to capture "anonymous" data for targeted advertising. Adware is usually just an annoyance, but sometimes it can cause greater difficulties.

The less common spyware programs is called Malware. Malware is a program that designed to cause problems with computer. Malware include viruses, Trojan horse programs, and certain forms of hijacking spyware. These types of spyware are written to get personal information such as email passwords, internet banking passwords, credit card numbers, and social security numbers for fraud. Many of spyware can change default program settings to allow an attacker access to the computer, or monitor a user's keystrokes to get information. The information is then sent off to the attacker via email without user knowledge or intervention.

It's hard to tell the share of computers that have been infected with spyware, estimates run as high as 95% computers could be infected. Children online can be especially vulnerable because they may have less technical savvy and frequently download using peer to peer software from the Internet.



Problems with spyware:

Several problems present themselves when a user has spyware on their system.

Pornographic advertising:
Spyware creates targeted advertisements can be a problem. The ads will be created from information such as websites and advertisements visited previously. If children are using the same computer, this can be a problem. If the adult user visits a pornographic site, the minor could receive targeted advertisements which contain pornographic material. Sometimes the targeting of ads can be for pornographic advertisements without anyone having visited adult sites.

Annoyance:
Spyware can be a huge annoyance to computer users. Created Pop Up ads often appear when web pages are opened or closed. This can cause hours of wasted effort because many of the Pop Ups create more popup ads as they are closed, in an ever expanding cycle.

Computer Memory and CPU Resource:
Some spyware allows the unauthorized use of computer memory and cpu resources. This includes running programs while a PC is not busy. However, increased use of a computer memory, processor and harddisk increases the wear and tear on the components, and reduces its functional lifetime. In some cases resources are used for malicious purposes, such as mailing spam or viruses to everyone in your addressbook.

Lose control of your PC:
Spyware can change browser's homepage and other settings without the user's knowledge or permission. These changes can include turning off firewall and security protection so the spyware can communicate with external resources, making them potentially dangerous.