Now, I'm assuming most of you have seen this termed thrown around all over the internet but may not exactly understand what this means when your 'your infected' with spyware or anything of the nature.
Now, there are several types of malicious software you need to at least know of. Spyware, adware, and malware.
The term spyware suggests software that secretly monitors a user's behavior. Spyware programs can collect various types of personal information, such as Internet surfing habit, 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 your Web browser's activity.
How did I get spyware?
Well, you usually get infected because your security settings are too low. You need to watch what you download. Many freeware programs, and P2P programs like Grokster, Imesh, Kazaa and others are amongst the most notorious, come with an enormous amount of bundled spyware that will eat system resources ands low down your system.
How do I avoid spyware?
One simple task to make sure you do when ever available is to keep up to date with Windows's updates. Microsoft brings out those updates for a reason, they are to patch holes in the operating system and to keep you just a little bit safer. Along with that, there are various sets of free software to keep you safe as well. I will go over a few near the end of this post.
Adware or advertising-supported software installed onto your computing normaly by trickery. It is any software package which automatically plays, displays, or downloads advertisements to a computer after the software is installed on it or while the application is being used. Simply, they are advertisements installed on your computer.
How can I prevent adware?
Well, pretty much the same way you would prevent spyware. Programs have been developed to detect, quarantine, and remove spyware. As there are many examples of adware software that are also spyware or malware, many of these detection programs have been developed to detect, quarantine, and remove adware as well. Among the more prominent of these applications are Ad-Aware and Spybot - Search & Destroy. These programs are designed specifically for spyware detection and will not detect viruses.
Well, lets just say this word wraps up everything said above. Malware, stands for malicious and software, is software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without the owner's informed consent.
[A screenshot of a malicious website attempting to install spyware via an ActiveX Control in Internet Explorer 6]
Now, Ad-aware and Spybot S-D are just a few anti-spyware programs I use on a regular basis on my Windows computers.
As I said, installing the programs above or anything similar would be the first step into protecting yourself from malware. Install, keep these programs updated, and run them on at least a weekly basis and you will be fine.
Spyware and Adware are only a few things that corrupt your pc, viruses are a different story. Always keep an anti virus program installed such as McAfee and Norton, any anti spyware program, and if you can a firewall.
I will be adding a longer list of anti-spyware software as soon as I can. Please, feel free to recommend some to the users if you would like. As I will be adding a list of free anti-virus programs and firewalls for windows based computers.
Any recommendations and suggestions to the thread would be appreciated. :]