Spyware is the general term that describes software that invades on your privacy and does things on your PC ,that you either are not aware of or don’t want. Spyware are executable files or software authored to snoop on your browsing habits, invade your privacy, and floods you with pop-up advertisements coming under the more narrow class of spyware called adware.

Often mistaken as a virus, spyware are not lethal to your computer. They’re not as malicious and don’t replicate to other PCs in a network. But they are definitely annoying. Spyware installs on your PC without your consent or knowledge and alters your registry configuration so that the next time you boot up your machine, you just might find a new homepage on your browser. You can get a slew of ads popping out every time you visit a new website, or at worst, it slows down your PC. And without you knowing it, spyware spies on your web browsing habits, collecting data on your frequently visited sites to better arm advertisers on how to target their ads to specific consumers.

Spyware is written for a purpose, often commercial. They are backed by revenue streams from advertisers and statistics companies who find spyware quite useful in this age of the internet. Some spyware that does this come bundled with certain PC games or utilities for which there’s a warning about them. Some come with freeware and shareware you download on the net to gain revenues from their authors. Once you install these downloads, the spyware installs with it.

Even still images, videos and mp3 files are not spared. They can and come with spyware. Those that do, often display pop-up advertisements or solicitations to visit certain paid sites and are classified as adware. And some of these adware do collect personal information from your browsing habits in the background.

Annoying and invasive, alright, but are generally harmless. But some spyware can border on the malicious when they make changes to your registry that can slow down your PC or even crash it. Some modify the toolbars on your browser, adding unwanted items or deleting some.

They are known to re-direct your homepage to a search engine or paid site, often pornographic in nature. And what is worst is that they can be quite difficult to revert to your preferred configuration, or to remove them manually. Some spyware alter more than one item on the registry and can correct itself if only a part of the registry is restored once you reboot the PC. Your best hope would be to install an Anti-spyware utility to scan, detect and remove or cleanse your PC of these spyware and their artifacts.


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