If you’re not running an anti-spyware program then your computer and your personal information could be left wide open for hackers to get their hands on…
Unfortunately, most computers have spyware on them or at least they’ve had it in the past. Your computer is most vulnerable if you frequently download free programs such as games, screen savers, free software applications or other tools.
However, even if you don’t download this type of software, you could still unintentionally install spyware. Most of the time, spyware is installed along with another application so you might not even be aware you’re agreeing to have this extra spyware software installed.
The damage spyware can do can range from annoyance to downright criminal. Often times, spyware will rear it’s ugly head in the form of popups or other types of advertisements. These are annoying and can force you to see how fast you can close the windows before the new one pops open, but in general they aren’t particularly harmful.
On the other hand, some spyware can take up nearly all of your system resources as it “does its thing”, causing your computer to start to run slowly. Again, this is more annoying than harmful, at least on its surface. But eventually, this type of behavior can cause your system to operate unreliably, cause programs to freeze up or the computer to crash or restart. This can be particularly problematic if you use your computer for business, but even the casual computer user can end up with lost data, corrupted files or a computer that just doesn’t work like it should.
On the far end of the spectrum, some spyware writers intentionally attempt to damage your computer, either by telling it you have a virus infection or encouraging you to download a specific file that contains a malicious program. This can be particularly dangerous if you use your computer for business, but even the most casual computer user can end up with lost data, corrupted files or a computer that just doesn’t work like it should.
On the far end of the spectrum, some spyware writers attempt to invade your privacy by sending you unwanted information, either through the internet or through your email. Some of this information can be very personal, such as your bank account number, your credit card number or your scheduling information. Others may try to collect names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth and other types of information that can be used to collect a debt owed to you, or money owed to an employer.
As you can see, these are extremely serious matters that should be treated with utmost importance. If you frequently download free programs or open your email inbox to receive pop-up ads, you need to protect your computer and your personal information.
Sure, your computer might not break every time if you regularly download free programs or open your email inbox to receive pop-up ads. Still, software and adware build up on your computer over time, and it’s only through your active involvement in either deleting these programs or testing them out that you’ll be able to determine whether or not your computer has anything to do with the build up.
If you’re wondering whether or not your computer has anything of a suspicious nature, or you simply don’t know whether or not it’s safe to open an unknown file or webpage, then you’ll find help and easy-to-use programs like SpyBot: Search and Destroy available for your computer. This program will run on your computer and it will run on any computer that has the SpyBot: Search and Destroy folder added to it. When you run this program, it will run through your processes in a search for any malicious programs that are running on your computer, and it will then give you the opportunity to delete them.
As far as safety goes, you’ll want to keep your computer up and running to prevent these programs from taking over your computer. You can accomplish this by doing a few things. First, you can run programs that control whether or not the internet is allowed to access your personal information. Second, you can install software that will let you do things like delete files from your computer and monitor internet activity while you’re away from your computer.
Just remember that the internet is a big place, and it’s easy to get lost in it and not really know where you are. It’s a wild and wonderful place where we can find information about everything we want to know. But remember that there are dangers lurking around every corner. Hopefully, we’ll be okay and be able to avoid having to worry about having our computers wiped out or our information compromised.