What is Spyware? How Does it Affect Your Computer, and How do You Get Rid of It?


What is Spyware The High Tech SocietyWhat is Spyware? How Does it Affect Your Computer, and How do You Get Rid of It?

Computers are such an important part of everyday life when they don’t work right it can be frustrating. If you are seeing pop-ups frequently, or if you see pop-ups when you are not even browsing the internet, you may have spyware on your computer. The first thing that comes to mind is the question, “What is spyware”? Your next thoughts are a combination of “what!, how did I get that?,” “where did it come from?,” and “how do I get rid of it?” The good news is you don’t have to be James Bond to fight the spyware and get rid of it. Anyone can easily rid their computer of unwanted spyware. You can also take some simple steps to help prevent getting it on your computer.

Asking the question, “What is Spyware”?

Your computer has gone from quickly taking you to websites for browsing, shopping, or listening to music to being a slowly loading window. You hear about spyware from someone who mentions it is harmful and as you ponder this you have to ask yourself, “What is spyware”? The good news is that spyware is not a virus. The not so good news is that spyware is a type of malicious software that is put on a computer to gather information and usually without the user’s permission. Some types gather information, including personal information and other types can cause problems with user controls, change settings, or redirect web browsers. The malicious software does these things without getting your permission correctly. With all the strange things happening to your computer you will be asking yourself, “What is spyware doing to my computer?”

Usually spyware is downloaded without your permission or knowledge. It can be hidden or bundled in software you download and install on your computer. Computers that run Windows and use Internet Explorer seem to be targeted more often. Spyware can be found in some Browser Helper Objects for Internet Explorer.

What is spyware for?

1.         Gathering personal information

2.         Monitoring your internet browsing habits

3.         Gathering your banking or credit card information

4.         Tracking you online

5.         Advertisements

What is Spyware Effects on My Computer?

One of the big things you might notice is lots of pop-ups. These pop-ups are annoying, unwanted and seem to be endless. They many times are for adult websites. You might wonder, what is spyware doing showing me these ads. You may notice extra add on components or toolbars on your browser. Removing these extra components does not seem to remove them and they come back when you start your computer. The settings you have might be changed and you will not be able to change them back. Your computer may run slow, programs might crash, and firewalls shut off.  In rare cases a computer is infected too badly and may have to have all software installed again to make it work correctly.

Effects of Spyware:

1.         Frequent, unwanted pop-ups

2.         A slow computer

3.         Changed settings

4.         Additional toolbars on your browser

Getting Rid of Spyware

There are tools to help you get rid of what spyware is on your computer if your computer has become infected. Many of the programs to remove spyware are free. There are some low cost programs also available. These anti spyware programs are easy to install and use. There are step-by-step instructions to walk you through removing unwanted and harmful spyware from your computer.

Windows users can use Microsoft Security Essentials which is a free program that is easy to use. You just follow the directions to download and install the program. Once it is installed you will be able to run it and it will find and remove any spyware. The program is real time protection and runs quietly in the background helping to keep your computer free of spyware. Automatic updates can be set so you are safely protected with the latest version of the program.

Microsoft also has the Malicious Software Removal Tool which is another free program you can download and install to remove what spyware is on your computer. When you run the program it will show a report of all spyware found and removed. This program can be run along with Microsoft Security Essentials for added protection.

Spybot Search and Destroy is another program that is easy to download and install, also with a free version. This program will remove what spyware is on your computer when you run the program after installing it. You can set the program to automatically update so you will always have the latest version to help keep your computer safe.

Keeping your computer working its best and spyware free is something you can do. When you remove unwanted spyware from your computer you will enjoy your surfing, browsing and whole internet experience so much more. When you download programs read everything to make sure the only thing you are downloading is the program you want. This can help keep you free from spyware and you won’t have to wonder, what is spyware collecting from my computer.

About The Author
Terri Chapman
Terri Chapman is a freelance writer living in the Midwest. She enjoys writing and being able to work from home. She has 3 sons and 7 grandchildren. In her spare time she loves reading and spending time with her family.