Internet privacy issues are becoming a rising concern due to the increasingly popular computer pest known as “spyware” which obtains information from the computer in which it is installed and relays that information to a third party without the computer-owner’s consent. Millions of computer users have been affected by these annoying and potentially damaging programs, and many of these victims are not even aware that their computers are infected.
WHAT EFFECTS WILL IT HAVE ON MY COMPUTER?
Spyware can decrease the computer’s efficiency, display advertisements, change the home/start page, and add unwanted favorites and bookmarks. Computers infected with a considerable amount of spyware programs can become virtually unusable.
Because some spyware can gather detailed and personal information, there is a serious privacy and security issue. The variety and nature of the user information that can be collected, shared, bought, and sold is alarming. Anything from website history and email to passwords and credit card numbers may possibly be obtained. To make the issue more frustrating, spyware can install more spyware from the internet. This ripple effect causes a vicious cycle making the problem more than just a nuisance.
HOW DO YOU PREVENT SPYWARE?
Spyware is an evolving concern and continues to frustrate many users. Though spyware cannot be stopped completely, there are ways to prevent it from infecting your computer and network:
- Be cautious and aware of what you agree to install, and its source. Visiting unscrupulous web sites and having security holes in the operating system and web browsers can install spyware. These “spies” may prompt a program installation upon entering a website, implying that the program is required to view the website, then installing spyware instead.
- Only install reputable applications. Some shareware and freeware programs are funded via the spyware applications they also install. Read the licensing agreement whenever installing. If an “advanced” or “custom” installation is available, choose this to determine which options can be removed during the installation.
- For Windows users, run Windows Update until all critical updates are installed. These updates are often security related and intended to prevent spyware applications from being installed.
- Install antivirus software and keep the virus definitions updated. More companies are labeling spyware as a form of virus. As such, antivirus software is updated to scan and prevent spyware from executing.
- When browsing the Internet do not install applications simply because a pop-up displays requesting a program install. These additional installations may be spyware.
- Install a firewall on your computer or network to prevent spyware from transmitting personal and confidential information.
HOW CAN LITERATI HELP YOU?
If you believe you are a victim of spyware, Literati can analyze your system and resolve any issues present. The tools used and our experience with resolving spyware issues will have your system operational again quickly. During the resolution of your spyware issues, we will also configure the system to prevent future spyware from occurring.