Spyware is any application that collects information about your computer activities and then sends that information to another individual or company without your knowledge or permission. Spyware often arrives bundled with freeware (free) or shareware (trial) programs, through email or instant messenger, as an Active X install, or by someone with access to your computer. Once on your drive, spyware secretly installs itself and goes to work. Spyware can be difficult to detect, and difficult (if not impossible) for the average user to remove.
- Track your online surfing habits, profile your shopping preferences, gather personal
information (age, sex, etc, possibly credit card info, PIN numbers)
- Send your email address to the company/person that made the spyware; that
company/person can now send spam to your email account.
- Decrease your connection speed/hog your internet connection by sending information
about you and your computer to the company/person that made the spyware
- Hijack your web browser’s start page, bombard you with pop-up advertisement boxes
- Run in the background and slow your computer down, alter important system files,
make your computer unstable and crash