They used to call you during dinner. Now, they're coming into your home. "It's more or less telemarketers online. They're just not telling you they're doing it," says Robert Causer, Assistant IT Administrator at NewsChannel 11.
We're talking about spy-ware that installs itself on your computer when you're connected to the internet. Causer says, "What it does is gather information off your computer and sends it to a clearing house. They gather information and then other companies will turn around and sell that information to someone else. Then they'll send you junk e-mails, spam and pop ups. If it's malicious they will get your credit card numbers and passwords and use those to further infect your machine and steal personal information.
Causer is in charge of making sure spy ware programs are blocked from computers here at KCBD. Your home computer can be especially vulnerable. Any website you go to could contain some type of spy-ware especially those websites that offer you free program or screensavers. "You get a cute little butterfly screensaver and it turns out you just downloaded and gave someone every piece of information you put on your computer."
When someone successfully installs spyware on your computer, they log in as you and can take anything from your hard-drive. If spy-ware is installed on your computer, you computer may experience some problems. It may run slow. You may notice several pop-up ads or junk e-mail. Your modem light may be blinking and your hard drive may sound like it's working when you're not doing anything. Some programs may even turn your computer on, after you've turned it off. Causer says, "It's a never ending battle, just when you think you've got it all nailed down a new one comes along."
But you can take some action against spy-ware. You can get anti-spyware programs to help detect spy-ware and remove it. You must be careful at all times because some websites download spyware without you knowing it. Make sure your "firewall" is on to help block others from getting access to your computer. For anti-spyware ( click here ) to search for Spy Bot. The site will give you a warning if something is infected with spyware.
For more information about spyware, ( click here ).
To test your spyware knowledge, take this quiz by ( clicking here ).
|Computer Virus Information Center|