Spyware, Adware and Antivirus
Adware, spyware and anti-virus software share some similarities, one of which is that all three are major problems for computer users. Let's differentiate between the three.
Spyware is software that does not necessarily harm your computer. What it does is build pathways whereby someone else apart from the computer owner can communicate from that computer. Normally spyware records the different kinds of web sites you visit and sends that information to web advertisers, who then later send you unsolicited emails and pop-ups.
Which is why spyware is unpopular and shunned. It is more intrusive than adware. Spyware has its own separate executable programs, which allow it 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.
Spyware then sends the information that it had gathered to the spyware author. The author will then use this data for advertising and marketing purposes. They also sell the information to advertisers and other parties.
Adware, on the other hand, is a more legitimate form of software.. It is similar to spyware but adware is advertising spyware which is packaged into free software or a free program and is installed automatically once that particular program or software is loaded into your computer system.
Some types of adware, on the other hand, download advertising content when a particular application is being run. Some adware acts like spyware in that it tracks and reports user information to the program's authors.
The signs of spyware infection include pop-up ads that seem to be unconnected to the site you are viewing. Sometimes spyware pop-ups are advertisements about adult contents. Furthermore, if you become aware of your computer slowing down, there is a big chance that spyware and its components have found their way into your operating system. If Windows desktop takes a long time to load, it is best to scan your computer for spyware infections.
Viruses, on the other hand, are a harmful form of software. They were designed and created for one purpose alone and that is to cause chaos on your computer. They may destroy whatever data they come in contact with, can instigate self replication and then infect as many components of the computer's operating system or network as possible.
These days, a lot of anti-virus software also offers spyware and adware scanning and removal utilities. They then remove it as well as its components located in the system registry and other places on your computer. It is therefore, good practice to regularly update your anti-virus and anti-spyware scanner to ensure that your computer is protected from the thousands of spyware and viruses in the Internet. Beware of free add-ons or free anything really.
Adware could be spyware in disguise and could be just waiting to be deployed for its writers to gather your data. Learn how to set up a firewall and pop-up blocker in order to minimize the risk of computer infection and guarantee the security of all your computer files.