Spyware is Internet jargon for Advertising Supported software (Adware). It is a way for shareware authors to make money from a product, other than by selling it to the users. There are several large media companies that offer them to place banner ads in their products in exchange for a portion of the revenue from banner sales. This way, you don’t have to pay for the software and the developers are still getting paid. If you find the banners annoying, there is usually an option to remove them, by paying the regular licensing fee.
Why is it called “Spyware”?
While this may be a great concept, the downside is that the advertising companies also install additional tracking software on your system, which is continuously “calling home”, using your Internet connection and reports statistical data to the “mothership”. While according to the privacy policies of the companies, there will be no sensitive or identifying data collected from your system and you shall remain anonymous, it still remains the fact, that you have a “live” server sitting on your PC that is sending information about you and your surfing habits to a remote location…
How do you know if your computer has Spyware?
If you are surfing the internet and are not safegauarding your computer, chances are there is spyware on your computer. Some indications of spyware include your browser home page changes to a different site, the appearance of pop up windows; your computer has slowed down and your network traffic has increased but there is no reason for this; you want to go to one site but you are taken to another site; instead of getting an error page when you enter an incorrect URL into your browser you are taken to an advertising website.
If you suspect that you may have adware or spyware on your computer you can download any of the following utilities used to remove it or you can visit Microsoft’s anti-spyware/anti-virus online scanner. (Note: Microsoft’s tool only works for Internet Explorer and a Windows Machine!)
Windows Defender – http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx
Lavasoft Ad-aware – http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/
Webroot Spysweeper – http://www.webroot.com/wb/products/spysweeper/index.php
Microsoft’s Online Anti-Spyware/Anti-Virus Scanner – http://safety.live.com (Internet Explorer Only)
Here are the most recent Spyware Alerts: