Computer Viruses
PSW Spyware

What is spyware?

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Wiki User
2018-03-31 21:31:19

Spyware is a bit of a overused term. It can apply to adware,

trojans, browser hijackers, and more. By definition spyware is a

type of malware which is designed to report back to its maker (or

some other party) with information about the user.

The most common type of spyware is adware and the so-called

browser-hijackers. In this instance the spyware is used to gather

information on your browsing habits, and may also serve ads to the

user. Many of these programs will insert their own advertisements

over that which belong to the website youre visiting or even add

their own. Spyware is often programmed to change the users homepage

and may insert bookmarks. Some spyware is known to block websites

they dislike, websites for antivirus companies and spyware removal

software are the usual targets.

Adware and browser-hijackers exist on the very edge of legality.

They often blur the lines between virus and application, purporting

to provide some useful service to the user such as online savings

through a referral program or somesuch. As a result they are not

always picked up by virus scanners.

Trojans however make no bones about their illegality. Trojans

are viruses which are desinged to allow someone else to take over

control of the system. Trojans (named after the Trojan horse of

lore) open up the computers back door so to speak, and whoever gets

in will have the ability to do anything they want to your computer,

just like they were sitting at your desk.

How do these programs get on your machine? Spyware is often

packaged with some freeware application you may have downloaded.

Limewire in particular comes with several spyware programs

piggiebacking their way into your system. Even after the primary

application is removed, the spyware will still be in there.

Sometimes they are brought in by a malicious script on a website

you visited. There are many ways spyware can creep into your


Luckily, there are free programs out there which can

automatically scan your system & remove spyware. Spybot Search

& Destroy is an excellent freeware title which also has a

number of useful system utilities built in, and is linked below.

Lavasoft Adaware also has a free version (although you might have

to dig for it) and is also an excellent spyware scanner.

Note: Since spyware scanners have become so popular, the spyware

producers themselves have gotten into the business of producing

their own spyware scanners. There are several out there which will

ignore specific spyware programs, or even worse, install them! User

beware! Any software that covertly gathers user information through

the user's Internet connection without his or her knowledge,

usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are

typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or

sharewareprograms that can be downloaded from the Internet;

however, it should be noted that the majority of shareware and

freeware applications do not come with spyware. Once installed, the

spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that

information in the background to someone else. Spyware can also

gather information about e-mailaddresses and even passwords and

credit card numbers. Spyware is similar to a Trojan horse in that

users unwittingly install the product when they install something

else. A common way to become a victim of spyware is to download

certain peer-to-peer file swapping products that are available


I think the word you meant was "spyware." Spyware is usually a

type of program that keeps you fom getting viruses and such things

bad for your computer. Once you do get something like that, they

ask you to quarantine it. For instance, if you go to the Google

home page and you choose to download Google Chrome - you get a

virus. (I have tried it - Trojan virus is what you get.)

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