dreamstime_15951908Spyware is a type of malware that secretly gathers information about a user that can be passed back to a ‘spy’ through a user’s Internet connection.

Spyware programs are usually hidden among other programs or can be unwittingly downloaded to a user’s system when certain websites are visited.  This is known as drive-by downloading.

Once the spyware is installed it remains invisible to the user and secretly monitors the user’s system and the user’s activities.  The spyware can transmit personal information back to the remote spy.

File-sharing programs are notorious for being bundled with (delivered along with) spyware. Some of them will even refuse to work if the bundled spyware is disabled.

Various programs can be used to remove spyware. One very popular program that can be used is Spybot Search and Destroy.  This program can be downloaded for free personal use and it includes a comprehensive  spyware database that is updated regularly. We’ll look at spyware removal in more depth later in the course.

Next: Drive-By Downloads