Confusing Terms

Spyware seems to be a rolling snowball of a term gathering other terms as it grows. It’s getting huge. The term spyware now includes not only spyware but also adware, malware, and trojan horses.

Adware is advertising in the form of pop-ups and toolbars that come bundled with free software. The adware pop-ups cover your browser window when you are trying to look at the website underneath. The toolbars clutter your Web browser or desktop. I’ve seen browsers with so many toolbars the browser window itself was tiny. It was hard to see the web page with the space that remained, there were so many toolbars glommed on to the top. These programs slow your computer down. You may not realize why your computer is working so slowly. It’s because each adware program is running processes in the background, and they take up the computer’s resourses. The computer is so busy running unwanted programs, it can’t handle the programs you are trying to use.

Adware becomes spyware when it gathers information about you and sends it to some database on the internet. If you visit skiing sites, for instance, or traveling to Europe sites, or recipe sites or on-line games it will store that information and send it out somewhere to a server on the internet. Then that server will send you ads based upon those interests and activities online. You get personalized ads. Aren’t you thrilled about getting more ads into your life?

Spyware becomes malware when it interferes with the normal functioning of your computer or victimizes you by stealing your credit card or bank account numbers. Sometimes malware will force your browser to go to a particular website or search engine. And sometimes it will turn your computer into a zombie and use it for purposes of a botnet or illegal network to serve porn or some other illicit activity.

Yet all of this can be prevented with good virus software and adware prevention and removal services. Ducktoes can help.

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