Spyware Programs Help
Spyware has been defined as “any software that covertly gathers user information through the user’s Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes.” These programs are sometimes also referred to as “data miners.”
Spyware can be installed in numerous ways. However, these applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet. Typically, a unique tracking number is assigned to each installation of the spyware. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the internet and transmits that information, via a backdoor, to the company responsible for creating the spyware. This monitoring allows the company to maintain a database of the activities of the users whose computers are infected by their spyware.
Spyware is one of the most typical Internet intruders that can imbed itself in your hard drive. In a recent survey by Consumer Reports, it was found that US consumers lost $7 billion over the last two years to viruses, spyware, and phishing schemes. Out of a random sample of 2,000 US homes with internet access, the survey suggests that consumers face a 25% chance of being victimized. Thirty-four percent of respondents’ computers had succumbed to spyware in the past six months alone.
Because of these sneaky attacks, spyware has been called a “crafty and insidious” threat that you need good tools to combat. Some antispyware programs can stop most attacks, but none stop every single one. In fact, you should always use more than one antispyware program to combat your spyware problems as no one program can catch all threats.
Although freely compared to antivirus programs, software to remove spyware is definitely statistically less effective. Because antispyware applications have not been able to keep up with the demand that spyware places on them, the current trend is to deem those that stop only about a third of the threats, as acceptable. The ones that capture three out of four are praised as excellent. But as time goes on, those that have chosen to fight back against spyware are getting more keen to what they are up against; the expectation for what spyware can and will catch has skyrocketed.
There is a funny thing about this dilemma though; in an odd twist of fate, all this spyware is turning out to be big business for computer manufacturers. According to the Consumers Report study, virus infections drove about 1.8 million households to replace their computers over the past two years. And over the past six months, spyware infestations prompted about 850,000 households to replace their computers.
So how does the average computer user stop spyware? Beyond the obvious tips like activating firewalls, shutting computers down when not in use, and exercising caution when downloading software or using public computers, invest is a good spyware detector and removal program. It will be more than worth the cost when it keeps you running problem-free.