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Avast Academy Security Malware What is Spyware? Learn How to Protect Your Personal Data

Spyware

Spyware is a type of malware that hackers use to see your personal information, banking details, or more. We'll show you the damage it can do, and why you should protect yourself with anti-spyware software.

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What is spyware

Spyware is a type of malware that's hard to detect. It collects information about your surfing habits, browsing history, or personal information (such as credit card numbers), and often uses the Internet to pass this information along to third parties without you knowing. Keyloggers are a type of spyware that monitors your keystrokes.

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    Where spyware comes from

    Spyware is often bundled with other software or downloads on file-sharing sites (e.g., sites where you download free music or movies), or is installed when you open an email attachment. Because of the secretive nature of spyware, most people are not aware when spyware is on a computer that’s unprotected by anti-spyware.

    How to recognize spyware

    New and/or unidentifiable icons may appear in the task bar at the bottom of your screen, while searches may result in you being redirected to a different search engine. Random error messages appear when you perform operations that previously worked fine. But the best way to identify if you have been infected is to use a spyware scanner, which will be included in any spyware removal software.

    How to remove spyware

    Antivirus software can find and remove any spyware on your computer, since these usually include anti-spyware protection as well as spyware removal tools. You can also check Programs and Features for items that don't belong on your computer.

    How to prevent spyware

    • Use antivirus and anti-spyware software.

    • Ensure that your browser, operating system, and software have the latest updates and security patches.

    • Set your browser security and privacy levels higher.

    • Use extreme caution if you frequent file-sharing sites.

    • Don't click on pop-up ads.

    Use anti-spyware to protect yourself

    There’s no better way to recognize, remove and prevent spyware than to use antivirus and anti-spyware software, the best of which is provided for free by Avast.

     

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