When you are surfing the Internet, conducting online banking, entering sensitive passwords, and just going about your way, are you alone? Chances are that you are not, there is likely malicious spyware on your computer collecting data and transmitting it to a remote server.

Spyware often sits in the background, without the computer user even being able to detect its existence. They are like viruses, but instead of damaging your computer, the more malicious ones can lead to your identity being stolen.

They are often bundled with software that you intended to download, or other times they can be installed more covertly, sneaking their way into your computer through backdoor channels. Often your computer will become infected with a virus, and the virus will open up a vulnerability which will allow the virus creator to sneak spyware onto your computer.

Some spyware is less malicious, and are instead used for the purpose of advertising, and then can collect data on you and use it to serve you with targeted advertisements. These do not generally threaten your identity, but instead violate your privacy and can lead to your computer and your inbox being bombarded with advertisements.

There are some clues that can help you determine if your computer has become infected with spyware. If it starts to behave erratically, including frequent freezing, hanging, or crashing, or if your Internet homepage randomly changes, or if your computer is beginning to perform slower overall, there is a good chance that your system has become infected with spyware.

Fortunately, there are a number of effective spyware scanners/cleaners on the market which detect and eliminate spyware, and protect your computer from future attacks. However, you need to be very careful, as some spyware itself disguises itself as a spyware cleaner. Furthermore, not all spyware cleaners are created equal, and you need to know which are the most effective and will actually get the job done.


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