What Exactly Is Spyware?

Spyware is a type of computer software that is secretly installed onto a computer in order to collect information about that machine, it’s user(s) and/or their browsing habits.

The word ‘spyware’ suggests that the unwanted software merely monitors processes and actions but the reality is that spyware does much more than that.

Not only can spyware collect a large array of information, such as –

  • which websites have been visited
  • browser information
  • surfing habits
  • personal data

– but it can also lead to other types of software being installed as well as causing web browsing to be redirected to locations other than those intended by the computer’s user.

One of the more annoying aspects of spyware is its ability to change home pages.

I know when I first started out on the internet some 10 years or more ago that happened to me on many occasions.

Spyware can also change other settings on your computer, leading to much slower than normal browsing or even to a total lack of internet connectivity.

Other spyware symptoms include random reboots and crashes as well as total freezes of the infected computer.

Such is the proliferation of spyware on the internet today that an entire industry has sprung up to combat it.

It is now common practice for security vendors to sell anti-spyware software either separately or bundled with other security programs such as anti-virus scanners.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


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