An image of a woman inside a computer screen looking back at the user through a magnifying glass.Spyware is a type of malicious software that collects information without your knowledge, typically sending it to a third party, or directing ads to your computer without your permission.

Unlike viruses and worms, spyware is not self-replicating, and thus does not spread from one infected machine to another. It does, however, allow the author of the spyware to exploit your machine in a number of ways:

  • Direct pop-up ads to your computer
  • Redirect your browser to advertising or malware-infected sites
  • Steal your usernames and passwords from legitimate sites
  • Steal your credit card and other financial details

You can minimize spyware infections in two ways:

  1. Know what you are installing. If a pop-up window requests permission to install software and you did NOT request it, cancel the operation.
  2. Install an anti-spyware solution. There are several inexpensive and even free options available from trusted companies. 

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