Spyware is one of the fastest growing Internet threats. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, spyware infects more than 90% of all computers today. These unobtrusive, malicious programs designed to silently bypass firewalls and antivirus software without the user knowing. When incorporated into a computer, can wreak havoc on system performance, while the collection of personal information.
Fortunately, unlike viruses and worms, spyware programs are usually self-replicate. 
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Where does it come from?

Usually spyware from three different ways. The first and most common is when the user installs it. In this scenario, spyware is embedded, attached, or bundled with freeware or shareware program without the user knowing. The user to download software onto your computer. Once downloaded, the spyware program goes to work to gather information on a spyware author's personal use or to sell to third parties. Beware of many P2P file-sharing programs. They are known for having the download spyware.

View a downloadable program should pay particular attention to the accompanying license agreement. Often the manufacturer of the software alerts the user that a spyware program installed with the required program. Unfortunately, not always have time to read the fine print. Some agreements may provide special "opt-out" boxes that the user can choose to stop the spyware included with the download. Remember to check the document before the closure of download.

Another way that spyware can use the computer is cheating on you, by manipulating security features designed to prevent unwanted installations. Internet Explorer is designed not to allow websites to start the download side. Therefore, the user must initiate the download by clicking the link. These links can be misleading. For example, a pop-up modeled after a standard Windows dialog can be displayed on the screen. The message may ask if you want to optimize your Internet connection. It provides yes or no answer buttons, but no matter what you press the button, the download contains spyware program starts. The latest versions of Internet Explorer are now making this spyware path a bit 'more difficult.

Also, some spyware infect a system by attacking security holes in the browser or other software. When the user navigates a webpage controlled spyware author, the page contains code designed to attack the browser, and force the installation of spyware software.

What can spyware programs do?

Spyware programs can perform a variety of malicious tasks. Some of their deeds are simply annoying the user, others may even become aggressive nature.

Spyware can:
 
1. Monitor your keystrokes for reporting purposes.
2. Scan files located on your hard drive.
3. Snoop through applications on our desktop.
4. Install other spyware on your computer.
5. Read your cookies.
6. Steal credit card, passwords and other personal information.
7. Change the default settings on your browser's home page.
8. Mutate into a second generation of spyware thus making it more difficult to eradicate.
9. Get the computer to run more slowly.
10. Deliver pop-up ads.
11. Add advertising links to web pages that the author does not get paid. Instead, the payment sent to the spyware programmer that changed the parameters of membership of origin.
12. Provide the user with no uninstall option and placed in unexpected or hidden places on your computer so it is difficult to remove.

Spyware Examples

Examples of spyware programs commonly observed. Note that although researchers often give names to spyware, they can not match the names of the authors-use spyware.

CoolWebSearch, a group of programs that install through "holes" exist in Internet Explorer. These programs direct traffic to advertisements on websites, including coolwebsearch.com. This spyware nuisance displays pop-up ads, rewrites search engine results, and modifies the host file on the computer to direct the Domain Name System (DNS) to find sites shortlisted.

Internet Optimizer (a / k / a DyFuCa), likes to redirect error pages to advertising Internet Explorer. When the user clicks on the link between broken or an incorrect URL, a page of advertising pop-ups.

180 Solutions reports extensive information to advertisers about the sites you visit. It also alters HTTP requests for affiliate advertisements linked to a website. Therefore 180 Solutions Company makes an unearned profit off of the click through advertisements they have changed.

HuntBar (a / k / a WinTools) or Adware.Websearch is distributed by Traffic Syndicate and is installed by ActiveX drive-by download on affiliate websites or by advertisements displayed by spyware programs. This is an excellent example of how spyware can install more spyware. These programs will add toolbars to Internet Explorer, the Web browsing behavior track, and display advertising.

How can I prevent spyware?

There are a few things you can do to prevent spyware from infecting your computer. First, invest in a commercial anti-spyware program. There are several currently on the market, including stand-alone software packages such as Lavasoft's Ad-Aware or Windows Antispyware. Other options that offer anti-spyware software as part of an anti-virus package. This option is available for companies such as Sophos, Symantec and McAfee. anti-spyware programs can combat spyware by providing real-time protection, scanning and removal of any found spyware software. Like most programs, update your anti-virus software frequently.

As mentioned previously, Internet Explorer (IE) is often a contributor to the spyware problem because spyware programs like to join its functionality. Spyware enjoys penetrating the IE weakness. As a result, many users have turned to non-IE browsers. But if you prefer to stay with Internet Explorer, make sure to update the security patches regularly, and only download programs from trusted sources. This will reduce your chances of a spyware infiltration.

And, when all else fails?

Finally, if your computer has been infected by a large number of spyware, the only solution that can have is the backup of your data, and perform a complete reinstallation of the operating system.

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