Spyware means any program that can change your computer system while gathering information about your activities while you are on the computer. The information is usually sent to the spyware creator via your internet connection without your knowledge. In order for it to work correctly, it must be able to run without the user shutting the computer down. Being hidden also helps the program to get installed in the first place.
Because of this, spyware is usually disguised as a Trojan horse. This is a program that quietly runs in the background, inviting the user to run it, while spreading its malicious code. This code can do any number of things. It can start right away or it may simply install a program that won't start for sometime. Once it does start, it can delete all of the files on the computer or it can infect the computer and try to infect other computers on the network. There are a number of ways spyware is delivered, and as a Trojan horse is the most common.
It usually comes with other pieces of software that a user might find interesting. This software is usually shared through a file-sharing network or downloadable off of the internet. Once the user installs the software, the spyware also gets installed. The most common reason spyware is infecting computers is for the profit of the spyware creator.
In most cases, it gets information about the computer user and shows them pop-up ads related to their needs. It can even redirect internet search engine results to the benefit of the spyware creator. In addition to these things, spyware can infect your e-mail address book. Once this occurs, spam will be sent to every single person in every single infected address book. This spam will usually be an advertisement of some sort for the spyware creator's website. Once infected with spyware, the creator can also profit from it by stealing important information like bank account information, credit card numbers, or contact information.
It can steal the password information for your software licensing. Spyware can also take control of your modem to make expensive telephone calls from the creator. There are currently five major spyware threats to your internet security.
The first major spyware threat is Gator or GAIN. This program displays banner and pop-up ads based on your internet surfing habits. It comes bundled with many popular software programs. The major difference between Gator and most other spyware programs is that users are clearly notified of its download before it occurs.
Another major spyware threat is CoolWebSearch. This spyware can do a number of things. First, it can hijack your current internet settings, making things display wrong, and causing other system problems. It can reset your homepage, and despite the number of times you try to change it, you will be unable to reset it to your desired site. It can also take over your web searches, displaying only advertiser sites when you search for information on web items.
It installs bookmarks to pornographic websites in your "Favorites" menu. It can cause your system to continually reboot. It can also cause serious system slow downs.
The third major spyware threat is 180searchassistant. This program has both pop-up and pop-under ads based on the user's search terms. Moreover, once a site is clicked on, a new browser window opens to display more advertisements based on the search terms. It constantly updates by itself, and it can display pop-up ads even when the internet is not running. It can cause system slow downs. The fourth major spyware threat to your internet security is ISTbar.
This spyware program displays pornographic pop-ups, even when the internet is not in use. It can hijack your browser settings, reset your homepage, and cause continual cascading pop-ups while you are using the internet. It will continually download related files without your knowledge. Moreover, it can cause system slow downs. The final major spyware threat to your internet security is Internet Optimizer.
This program redirects your computer to its advertising sites. It also downloads and continually updates itself without your knowledge. The worst part about this spyware, though, is it leaves a back door open to your system so other viruses can penetrate your defenses.
Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. Get tools to help your internet security at http://www.privateinternetsurfing.com