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What Is Adware & Spyware?

What is Spyware?

Any product that employs a user's Internet connection in the background without their knowledge, and gathers/transmits info on the user or their behavior. Many spyware products will collect referrer info (information from your web browser which reveals what URL you linked from), your IP address (a number that is used by computers on the network to identify your computer), system information(such as time of visit, type of browser used, the operating system and platform, and CPU speed.) Spyware products sometimes wrap other commercial products, and are introduced to machines when those commercial products are installed.

Spyware is software that uses legitimate (e.g. as part of another program) and illegitimate methods (e.g. using an Internet Explorer vulnerability) to install on your computer. Generally spyware tracks your web usage so that companies can "target" pop-up adverts at you. They also change your Homepage and attempt to re-direct your searches to their search engines.

What is Adware?

Software that brings targeted ads to your computer, after you provide initial consent for this task. Some Adware may hijack the ads of other companies, replacing them with its own. Adware typically will track your browsing habits and report this info to a central ad server.

How does spyware and adware get into my system?

Spyware is usually an executable software program that you have inadvertently downloaded to your computer and is usually bundled within a freeware or shareware software package. Because we have become immune to seeing the "next" button during an install of this type of software, we fail to read the install wizard screens. These screens will usually explain in technical jargon what you're actually installing on your system in addition to the software you are aware of installing.

How do I prevent spyware and adware from entering my system?

  1. Always read all the install screens when installing software, especially freeware and shareware. This also means reading the end-user license agreement carefully, as some will actually tell you that if you install the app in question, you've also decided to install some spyware with the software.
  2. As a PC user, you should have the control to decide whether a program or service should be accessing the internet. To achieve this task, you will need to install a firewall on your system. With a good firewall installed on your system, you will have the ability to deny or allow access to the internet for specific programs such as spyware.
  3. Install and run a spyware blocking software program on your system such as Total Defense Anti-Virus
  4. Beware of peer-to-peer file-sharing services. Many of the most popular applications include spyware in their installation procedure.

How do I remove spyware from my system?

Total Defense Anti-Virus detects and removes a wide variety of spyware to protect your PC from unauthorized access, information theft and diminished system performance. Spyware, adware and other non-virus threats are rapidly spreading, and represent a major security and privacy risk. Total Defense Anti-Virus reduces this risk and provides an added layer of protection for safe Internet connectivity.

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