Spyware has been the scourge of the average PC user for a really long time. Essentially, it’s a type of software that helps in collecting of information and details about an Internet user without him ever knowing about it. In addition, it may even deliver such information to another entity (be it a person or an organization) without the consent of the individual. Spyware is usually grouped into four categories: tracking cookies, adware, system monitors and trojans. Spyware’s normally hidden from the user since its purpose is sinister. Thus, it can also be very hard to detect.

How Spyware Can Infect Your PC

Spyware spreads in a fashion different from either a worm or a virus, simply because infiltrated systems just do not try to either transmit or copy software to additional PCs. In contrast, spyware will install itself into your system by tricking you and then capitalizing on any software weaknesses. Spyware might attempt to trick users by packaging itself together with favorable and useful software. Of course, the use of a Trojan horse is another sly way by which this software attempts to infect your PC. Certain spyware authors may even plot to infect your system by way of security holes in the browser or software.

Its Effects On Your PC

Note that spyware is hardly ever alone on your PC if it infects your system. An infected computer usually suffers from multiple infections at the same time. Typically, users are going to notice a slowdown and deterioration of the performance of their computers. Noticeable and unwanted CPU activity, network traffic and disk usage can all be negative effects from spyware, as can stability issues like system-wide crashes, the failure to properly boot, and applications freezing. Another telltale sign of the presence of spyware is having a hard time connecting to the Internet, since spyware disrupts networking software. Sometimes, some infections are very clandestine.

How You Can Protect Yourself

Protecting yourself from this nefarious software really comes down to the installation of anti spyware software. These kinds of programs exist solely to either remove or block this sinister spyware. They include products such as Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware SE, PC Tools’ Spyware Doctor and even Patrick Kolla’s Spybot – Search and Destroy. These tools should either remove or, preemptively, intercept spyware software. Even big-time antivirus companies like McAfee, Symantec and Sophos have incorporated some anti spyware features to their existing lines of antivirus programs. In earlier years, these antivirus companies were reluctant to add anti spyware software to their products, but in recent years, they have finally changed their minds.

Spyware is the scourge of the average and everyday PC user. It is a poison that can infect your system and destroy its performance and efficiency, perhaps leading you to buy a new computer when all you really had to do was increase your anti spyware efforts. What makes spyware so toxic is its devious nature, where it can infect a PC surreptitiously and be hard to detect. Anti spyware programs are really your best bet to stay safe from this scourge.