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Spy and Malware

Spyware is a type of malware installed on computers, normally without the user's knowledge.  It collects little bits of information about user without their knowledge. The presence of spyware is typically hidden from the user, and can be difficult to detect. Typically, spyware is secretly installed on the user's personal computer.

‘Spyware’ suggests that software that secretly monitors the user's computing.  The functions of spyware now extend well beyond simple monitoring. Spyware programs can collect various types of personal information, such as internet surfing habits and sites that have been visited, but can also interfere with user control of the computer in other ways, such as installing additional software and redirecting Web browser activity.

Common symptoms include changed computer settings, resulting in slow connection speeds, different home pages, and/or loss of internet or functionality of other programs.

In response to the emergence of spyware, a small industry has sprung up dealing in anti-spyware software. Running anti-spyware software has become a widely recognized element of computer security practices for computers, especially those running Microsoft Windows.

Windows Defender can be installed on most Windows computers and provides a good basic level of protection.  Download it from www.microsoft.com

There are also specialist vendors who provide more advanced solutions.  These include:

Super-Antispyware: www.superantispyware.com/

Lavasoft Ad-Aware: www.lavasoft.com/

Spybot S&D: www.safer-networking.org/

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