Spyware FAQs

by Mark Braught

What is Spyware?
It is a program that underhandedly monitors or tracks your actions on your computer or on the Internet. These programs also can gather information about you and your browsing habits. This information than can be used by individuals or companies to target you for spam, ads and remote access. One company estimates that 89% of the computers connected to the Internet are infected with some sort of spyware component. Spyware has now surpassed Viruses as the most prolific threat on the Internet. 

Are there other names for these types of programs? 
Yes, Spyware is a.k.a. (also known as) Adware, Malware, Hijackers, Peepware and other descriptive names. Some of these programs function slightly different from each other but the same basic principal is to get information from you or send you information you do not want. 

Is Spyware a virus?
Technically spyware components are not considered viruses by many in the computer industry, and therefore some major Antivirus companies do not treat them like viral threats. Most Antivirus software will not remove spyware components and some will not even detect it. Spyware does not usually destroy data or cause major computer malfunctions. Practically, Spyware embeds itself in the system much like Virii and uses system vulnerabilities to infiltrate the computer for insidious purposes. It also causes a system to slow down and malfunction because of their sending and receiving of data and information across the Internet. 

How do I know if I have Spyware? 
There are several questions to ask yourself. 1. Is the system running significantly slower? 2. Does the system attempt to dial-up or connect or open up web pages for no apparent reasons? 3. Do you receive unsolicited Pop-up pages and or unsolicited email? 4. Does your Internet browsing software change home pages or does not go to the page you typed in? All these and more problems indicate a spyware infestation. 

How did I get Spyware on my system? 
Spyware comes into the computer in many different ways. The most common is downloaded programs that allow you to access a website or another system on the internet. Some of the greatest offenders are Music sharing programs like Kazaa, Bearshare, Morpheus, and Limewire, etc. These programs come packaged with spyware in them, and once loaded they continue to bring in the latest spyware products. Other ways are contracting viruses and spyware is allowing script programs on questionable websites to download and install on your system. There are some manufactures which have allowed some spyware programs to be distributed on there systems!

Can I remove the spyware by uninstalling the program I downloaded? 
Unfortunately uninstalling the program which had spyware imbedded in it will not remove the spyware. Spyware while not considered the same as Viruses still hides itself in various areas of the system that are not easily removable. 

MBCS technician are trained and keep up with the latest viral and spyware threats. If you believe you have viral or spyware components on your system MBCS can remove them. And more importantly keep them out of your system in the future. Call us today to see how we can help you.


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