Know that spyware has overtaken viruses as the largest online threat, infecting 90% of internet connected PCs. It’s important to be aware of the risks that spyware poses. Spyware can be classifies into 3 different groups.
Severe Threat – Spywares from this group is the most dangerous of all. They log user keystrokes, which means everything that the person types is gathered. Imagine yourself typing ‘paypal.com’. Surely the next thing that is logged would be the username and password. Imagine the pain for losing all the money in paypal. 15 out of 100 computers infected belong here.
Moderate Threat – Installed programs, internal IP address, OS version, the existence and versions of service packs and security updates and TCP ports the spyware is listening to are some of the data sent across. Though it is less risky that the severe threat group, it’s still bad. It’s like having spycams around the house. 25 out of 100 computers infected are in this group.
Minor Threat – commercial-value information about the end user’s browsing habits are collected. This is like a supermarket installing a spycam in your kitchen, to know what you have and don’t have, so that they can knock on your door and present you with the right stuff that you are missing, with the likelihood of you buying it. 60 out of 100 infected computers lie in this group.
Spywares not only steal personal information, they also :
- consumes resources on your PC which disrupts workflow.
- causes PC crashes
- interferes with the web browser, slowing it down and causing downloads to fail. It can even hijack the browser to redirect you to sites containing unwanted contents.
- annoy you with annoying popup ads that fit your preferences from the information gathered.
- costs you money if your internet service provider charge you by the hour.
Here are 15 commonly used programs distributed with spyware. Seriously, be very careful.
- Bonzi Buddy
- Dope Wars
- Sony’s Extended Copy Protection involved the installation of spyware from audio compact discs through autorun. This practice sparked considerable controversy when it was discovered.
- AOL Instant Messenger – it is still bundled with Viewpoint Media Player and WildTangent
- DivX – prior to version 5.2
- LimeWire – prior to version 3.9.3
- FlashGet – before being converted to freeware
Do you know that spyware removal tools won’t remove spywares that are bundled with non-spyware programs? The reason is because there is a clause in the terms and conditions which prevents them from being removed, unless the non-spyware program is removed together with it. I believe 99% of us don’t read the t&c. I don’t. I’ll just keep clicking next until the installation is finished.
Computer Security Software Reviews
Are you infected with spyware?