Software that can harm your computer: spyware and ad-ware

[id : 88] [10/05/2013] [hits : 88954]

Spyware, also referred to as ad-ware, are programs that trace the activities of users on a computer system and transmit this information to the owner of this spyware over the Internet, thus compromising system security as well as invading the users' privacy.

You may not even be aware that you have spyware on your computer. It may have been installed while using seemingly harmless software such as freeware or shareware, when accessing Kazaa, Morpheus and the likes, or even by visiting certain websites.

While invading the privacy of persons might be considered not too damaging, when passwords or credit card numbers are intercepted, or system security is compromised, the consequences can be more dramatic. It can also result in your computer becoming unstable, just like a computer virus may do.

There are anti-spyware tools available, some of which are (free) light versions. Some tools prevent that spyware is installed on your computer, or that confidential information is transmitted. With other tools you can remove spyware from your computer, but some spyware has proven to be extremely difficult to remove. For a list of tools, see the links below.

You can try to removing the software which contained the spyware, but this may not always remove the spyware.

Peter Van Rossem - helpdesk@vub.ac.be

The Computing Centre does not support any of these anti-spyware tools.

In a way, cookies set when surfing the web, are also a way of Spyware. They can store useful information for your next visit, but they can also keep track on how frequently you use the site, which parts you visit more often etc...


: :: ::: ::::