What’s up with Spyware? Who are these devious companies and what do they think gives them the right to install that hideous stuff on my computer? Spyware does some nasty things and while we can all pine and whine and sit around and wait for the government to do something about spyware (and it looks like they may finally get off their duff), we don’t have to wait around by sitting on our hands.
We can take action.
Spyware is slimy software that gobbles up bandwidth, computer resources, and (most importantly) personal information without the express knowledge of the user. It’s been described as parasitic software, but I feel that description does an injustice to biological parasites. Spyware is often installed with other programs, when it sneaks onto your hard drive. This frequently happens when you’re installing peer-to-peer file-sharing software (a.k.a.: Kazaa), and the like … the spyware installer piggybacks on the installation. It can also be installed with a simple unwitting click in a web browser. (My primary computer had become infested through both methods, thanks to my darling daughter.) :)
Thankfully, there are mighty forces of good to fight the evil spyware tide …
Spyware is capable of doing lots of heinous work. It can watch what you are typing, where you are going on the Internet, what’s on your computer’s hard drive, and can even load additional spyware applications. This is nothing less than shameful, appalling, and disgraceful. I can’t conceive of many (make that any) situations where it would be proper for a program to gather and send user information without the user’s true approval. The practice is devious, underhanded, and downright dastardly, IMHO.
But most importantly, it is entirely preventable. You can use software to detect, remove, and prevent spyware from being loaded onto your computer. I highly recommend that you do so.
The best part is that you don’t have to open your wallet to fight spyware. You can download one of the best spyware-fighters for free: Spybot Search & Destroy. If you dig it (and you will), you can make a donation to the developer for their good work. (I just did.)
You can also look to any one of scores of spyware fighters from companies such as McAfee and Lavasoft.