It’s an unfortunate part of web-based life that someone, somewhere, is always trying to infiltrate your computer system in some way.
Most people are, hopefully, well aware that there are websites out there that will try to trick their visitors into downloading and installing malicious software, such as viruses and keystroke loggers.
However, there are also other threats, supposedly less dangerous, and they are spyware and adware.
Spyware can be defined as any program which installs itself onto your computer system with the intent of spying on your online activity.
typically, this means recording your online searching habits.
Adware isn’t much less of an irritation -it is designed to track you on the internet, looking at the sites you visit and which search terms you have used.
This data is then reported back to whichever advertising agency is behind the program.
A large proportion of advertisers on the internet will attempt to place a cookie onto your system which will then track you as you visit different web pages.
Some cookies will simply gather data whilst others will be utilised to deliver targeted ads to your browser.
In either case, the adware or spyware will be employing your computer in the tracking process.
This means that your CPU and other resources will be diverted away from the tasks you are running in order to monitor what you are are doing for the benefit of a third party.
If your system is infected with a large amount of these types of program then they can literally slow it down to the point where it is unusable.
Furthermore, some adware can seriously degrade your user-experience by opening pop-up windows and redirecting you to websites you may not want to be visiting.
Removing adware and spyware is a relatively painless process,
Remember, though, that they are not the same as viruses and trojans so your anti-virus program will probably not be a sufficient solution to the problem.