• Spyware, Virus and Adware Differences

    by Jacky • March 26, 2008 • Computer Help • 0 Comments

    Your computer just crashed or is taking a long time to load. Do you know what might be causing it, a virus, spyware or adware?

    Let’s try to break down the differences between a virus, spyware and adware.

    Adware, spyware and computer viruses are alike in many ways, in that each is a major
    pain in the neck for computer users. Let’s point out the differences of the three.

    Spyware is software, that once it gets into your computer, does not always harm your computer. What spyware does is that they create pathways on your computer that somebody else other than the computer owner can communicate with the computer. Generally, spyware can record the different types of web sites you visit or keystrokes you use. This data can be used later by web advertisers and others to keep track of websites you visit and possibly data that you type. Many times spyware can be the source of unwanted emails, pop-ups and sadly identity theft .

    This is why spyware is highly frowned upon and greatly avoided. They are more intrusive than adware. Spyware have their own separate executable programs which allow them to record your keystrokes, scan files on your hard disks and look at other applications that you use including but not limited to chat programs, cookies and Web browser settings. This is why it is very important that you limit the amount of private data you type on a public computer. Also, be sure not to download programs on to your computer that you are not sure of what it is, or programs that you did not purposely seek to install.

    The spyware then will send the information that it had gathered to the spyware author. The agent will then use this information for advertising, marketing purposes and possibly accessing private accounts. They even sell the information to advertisers and other parties.

    Adware, on the other hand, is a more legitimate form of freeware which is free software. To be clear, not all freeware is adware or contain spyware. Similar to spyware, adware is advertising materials packaged into software or a program and installed automatically once that particular program or software is added into the computer system. Some forms of adware download advertising contents as a particular application is being used such as a browser. Have you ever noticed that when you visit some websites, that a pop-up appears promoting other products and websites? If it were not for the annoyances of adware, this method of advertising can be useful in some cases. It is quite unfortunate that most of the adware programs take the form of spyware, in that they track and report computer user information to program authors.

    Some signs of spyware infections include pop-up ads that seem to be not related to the site you are viewing. More often than not, spyware pop-ups are advertisements or images about adult website contents. Also if you notice your computer slowing down, there’s a big chance that spyware and its other components have found their way into your operating system. When the Windows desktop also takes a longer time to load, its best to scan your computer for possible spyware infections. These are just some indicators that your computer may have spyware and time to run your spyware removal software.

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