What you need to know to protect yourself.
The threat is real.
Anyone who uses a computer is susceptible to spyware
infection. In fact, four out of five Internet-connected
PCs are infected with spyware, adware and other unwanted
programs that can:
- Open your PC to identity theft
- Expose your personal information and private
- Corrupt your hard drive
- Share your passwords and user names
Spyware describes any application that may track your
online or offline PC activity. It can save or transmit
those findings to third parties. Spyware is stealthy and
often attaches itself to your computer without your
knowledge – or appropriate consent. Many nefarious
spyware programs can record keystrokes to steal your
social security number, bank account information and
credit card numbers, or hijack your modem to dial
expensive, pornographic phone numbers.
Adware is a different type of program that lets
companies track your online activities and tailor pop-up
ads based on your choices.