There are certain issues with spyware that make it one of the most dangerous types of computer programs. Computer viruses can delete or modify files, are hard to get rid of, and are some very annoying programs, adware will install unwanted software, bombard you with unwanted popup ads, and slow down your PC, but spyware will steal your private information and send it to an attacker. If this does not sound that critical to you, let’s learn about spyware and what it can do…take the following scenario: You have just found a pair of jeans on eBay and you really want to have them. You immediately bid and win the auction. The seller needs the money, of course, so you initiate a transfer through Paypal. Paypal does not work so you initiate a Wire transfer through your bank. The seller receives the money and sends the jeans. Nothing dangerous at this point, you might say. However, the next day, your Paypal account is empty and so is your bank account. Now, let’s see how this happened and how you can avoid it!
It is clear that someone has stolen your login information to both Paypal and the bank accounts. How? Through spyware! The most insidious thing about spyware is that it is usually undetectable unless a scan is performed with a professional tool. It is a form of computer malware that specializes in stealing sensitive information and sending it to the attacker. The program stored your account name, Social Security Number (SSN), passwords, and other info and sent them to the hacker. It might have also recorded your keystrokes and sent the logs to that person, allowing him to see your private conversations and more. Spyware is also capable of sending entire documents, so your privacy is compromised on all fronts.
How did the spyware get onboard? You recall downloading and installing a free Flash game from a website a day ago. And yes, that can be one of the sources. There are a lot of other sources, including downloads from file-sharing tools, navigating on suspect websites, and many more. One of the worst features of spyware is its ability to piggyback on seemingly innocent programs… The free game is surely the culprit. Once you have installed the game, the unwanted program installed itself on your machine and began monitoring your activity. Once you entered Paypal and the bank account, it recorded all the login information and sent it over an unseen connection to the attacker.
And this is how he managed to leave you penniless in just under a day. Most of the time, attackers use untraceable IP addresses and delete most of their traces. Even if you or the authorities find some traces, the hacker might live on the other side of the Globe. This means that your actions against him are very limited if any are possible.
How to Prevent This from Happening Again
By simply using an antispyware tool, you can protect yourself in the future. Learn all you can about spyware and the many antivirus tools that come with their own firewall and, most importantly, with their own antispyware. Frequent updates are a must! Spyware programs appear every day and your antispyware software must be able to protect you from all these new threats. With a reliable tool, you can make sure no one will steal your private information ever again! A simple search on Google after “antispyware” will bring up a lot of results. Always read some reviews first, and try to get the best package – antivirus, firewall, and antispyware.
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