Spyware is part of an overall public concern about privacy on the Internet. Experts in the field of Internet privacy have a consensus that Internet privacy doesn't actually exist. It has been noted that spyware infects nearly 90% of Internet connected PC's, with the main bulk of it coming from the installation of software. By installing certain software you could be placing media plugins, spyware, backdoor santa's and Trojans on your PC; all of which are being placed there without your permission. It is due to the increase in spyware that makes it important that you check and read all the disclosures, license agreement and privacy statements as sometimes the inclusion of unwanted spyware is documented within one of these. So just what happens to the information that is collected by companies through the use of spyware? It is believed that this information is potentially being sold and combined with other databases to build up profiles of individual web users for direct marketing purposes.
When spyware is present on your computer it performs certain behaviours such as advertising, collecting personal information or changing the configuration of your computer. Spyware has the ability to change your home page as well as adding additional components to your browser that you don't need and don't want. These changes can slow your computer down as well as being the cause of it crashing. Marketing firms often object to their programmes being referred to as spyware, which is why you may hear it being referred to as potentially unwanted programmes (PUP). Spyware is made up by any technology that aids in gathering information about a person without their knowledge. This information that is gathered is then relayed to advertisers and other interested parties.
One example of spyware that most people will easily recognise is a cookie. This well known mechanism is used for storing data about an Internet user. If a website stores information about you in a cookie that you don't know about it can be considered as being spyware. Although spyware doesn't steal personal information such as credit card numbers or you're identify there is a real concern that this could happen in the future with yet more Internet and computer advancements.
Spyware does however track your Internet use. It keeps a record of the products that you purchase and the type of websites that you visit and then uses this information to target advertisements at you based on its findings. For example if you have brought a number of comedy DVD's or frequently visit sites to do with comedy, you may notice advertisements on many of the Internet pages that you visit will be based around comedy. The fact that this can actually happen is worrying; it demonstrates a real threat to our private lives and shines as an example of how easy it would be to use software such as spyware to gain confidential files and credit information.
There are a number of anti spyware solutions available to you, some of which are free, it is highly advised that you invest in an anti spyware solution as it can stop potential threats before it's too late.
Helen is the web master of MySpamBin, specialists in all your Spyware Solution needs.