Spyware can be relatively harmless or downright devastating. Software programs that are designed to gather information about you are often inadvertently installed by computer users without their knowledge. Avoiding spyware isn't rocket science, but it does require computer users to be somewhat savvy in the way they conduct themselves online. If you're trying to avoid installing spyware on your computer, there are some important things to remember that will help you keep your computer clean and your personal information and identity safe.
Spyware is often installed by computer users themselves who download free software from the Internet without reading end-user license agreements that typically indicate that spyware is included with the package. Most people don't read end-user license agreements because they're usually long and very boring, however, there is software available to read end-user agreements for you and detect whether or not the agreement includes verbiage that indicates that there may be spyware that will be working behind-the-scenes on your computer.
Anti-spyware applications allow you to scan your computer to check to see if your computer is running spyware programs. After you do a scan on your computer, reboot it in order to check and see if there are any remaining bits and pieces of spyware left on the computer. Often, spyware will install itself on your computer disguised as a software program that is meant to be of benefit to you. If you discover it (by doing a computer scan, for example), there may be little seedlings or “ticklers” left after you get rid of the spyware. These ticklers than can resprout into a full-fledge spyware situation again when properly activated.
Install a firewall on your computer and run anti-virus software on your computer in order to protect yourself from viruses, worms, and Trojan Horses. This can help add security to you computer system, and make it less likely that you computer will be infected with spyware.
Cookies can also pose spyware problems. Though cookies may seem relatively safe compared to other types of spyware, the information that is gathered by cookies can actually be quite damaging if combined with information that is gathered about you elsewhere on the web. Cookies can provide detailed information about you and your habits and provide criminals and spyware developers with the information they need to either manipulate you, steal your identity, or separate you from your money.
Anyone who spends time online on a personal computer is subject to spyware and must exercise caution in order to avoid having their privacy breached.
This guest article is by Tim Edmonds, a freelance technical writer interested in Mac YouTube Downloader programs.