Most Internet users recognize the need of protecting their computers against viruses, as the vast majority of us sooner or later become painfully aware of these nasty little programs when they shut down our PC, spam our mailbox or delete our files. Viruses are, however, not the only malicious software programs out there. The newest addition to the evil software family is the so called Spyware and a good anti-virus program or firewall is not enough to safeguard against these clever programs. Spyware are known by many names such as adware, trojans, malware, browser hijackers etc. The thing they all have in common is that they will transmit your personal information to companies and individuals who have an interest in knowing about your surfing habits, online purchases, credit worthiness, interests, web searches, chats, birth date and even your credit card number.
The list goes on and on, since Spyware are constructed by promotional companies who need to know as much as possible about the online consumers to target them effectively. By ewes dropping on you online, these companies hope to be more successful when sending out promotional materials. Spyware usually enter your PC by piggybacking on other software downloads. Every time you use downloaded or otherwise shared files, including Freeware, Shareware or p2p sharing programs, you stand the risk of unknowingly infecting your computer with Spyware. Even confirmed virus free music files, films and computer programs can have Spyware stowaways. Once inside your computer, they will hide, monitor all your actions and promptly start telling your secrets to anyone willing to listen.
Contrary to most viruses the Spyware actually make an effort not to be observed. Since they won't cause obvious harm such as deleting important files or shutting down your computer, they can thrive in your PC for years without you noticing, sending out massive amounts of information about all your online habits. At a first glance, you might find this annoying but essentially harmless. Why not let the companies send me promotional material about things I am actually interested in? Spyware is however far from harmless, since the infiltration by Spyware not only let the companies know about your latest online search, but also much more private matters such as credit card details, online purchases of medicine and your private e-mail correspondence with family, friends and business partners. There are even examples of how this massive gathering of personal information has led to an overall loss of privacy and stolen identities. In the computerized world of today it is not hard to imagine the amount of damage and personal suffering the fraudulent use of a persons' identity can cause.
It is obvious to anyone that we must start combating the Spyware programs, but the best way of doing this is not to panic and pull the plug on your PC, never go online again and keep five feet away from all Freeware. There is a much better solution: Support Cave.
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