DSL Extreme
Where are you? Support > Knowledge Base > General Info > What are Viruses and Spyware?
 

What are Viruses and Spyware?  

What are Viruses and Spyware?
 
What are Spyware and Viruses, how do I know if I have them?
 
Viruses are programs that infect your PC with the intent to cause harm. Either to cause harm to windows by corrupting files, or to violate privacy by transmitting data to the programs author, or to take control of an aspect of the computer for it's own use (for spamming etc). Spyware is more of the ultimate in annoyances. Small programs that show you ads, redirect your browser etc. Neither one of these things are good and you don't want either of them. Is your computer running slower then usual? Is your browser being redirected to random sites, is your home page something you didn't choose? Do you notice that your internet connection is very slow lately? All of the aforementioned symptoms are symptoms of spyware and viruses. If you believe that you have either, you should check for both. Refer to the I have a virus, what do I do? and I have spyware, what do I do? Knowledge base articles for instructions on how to remove spyware and viruses from your computer. And read the How do I protect myself from spam and viruses knowledge base article.
 
Virus

 
A program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against your wishes. Viruses can also replicate themselves. All computer viruses are manmade. A simple virus that can make a copy of itself over and over again is relatively easy to produce. Even such a simple virus is dangerous because it will quickly use all available memory and bring the system to a halt. An even more dangerous type of virus is one capable of transmitting itself across networks and bypassing security systems.
Since 1987, when a virus infected ARPANET, a large network used by the Defense Department and many universities, many antivirus programs have become available. These programs periodically check your computer system for the best-known types of viruses.
Some people distinguish between general viruses and worms. A worm is a special type of virus that can replicate itself and use memory, but cannot attach itself to other programs.
Spyware
(n.) Any software that covertly gathers user information through the user's Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet; however, it should be noted that the majority of shareware and freeware applications do not come with spyware. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Spyware can also gather information about e-mail addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers.
Spyware is similar to a Trojan horse in that users unwittingly install the product when they install something else. A common way to become a victim of spyware is to download certain peer-to-peer file swapping products that are available today.
Aside from the questions of ethics and privacy, spyware steals from the user by using the computer's memory resources and also by eating bandwidth as it sends information back to the spyware's home base via the user's Internet connection. Because spyware is using memory and system resources, the applications running in the background can lead to system crashes or general system instability.
Because spyware exists as independent executable programs, they have the ability to monitor keystrokes, scan files on the hard drive, snoop other applications, such as chat programs or word processors, install other spyware programs, read cookies, change the default home page on the Web browser, consistently relaying this information back to the spyware author who will either use it for advertising/marketing purposes or sell the information to another party.
Licensing agreements that accompany software downloads sometimes warn the user that a spyware program will be installed along with the requested software, but the licensing agreements may not always be read completely because the notice of a spyware installation is often couched in obtuse, hard-to-read legal disclaimers.




 

Search our Knowledge Base

Do the links above not match what problem you're trying to solve or question you might have? With over 600 articles and growing our Knowledge Base most likely has what you're looking for.

Enter a Search Term: Or do an Advanced Search
 

Don't want to search? Go to our Knowledge Base directly

Send an Email to a Representative

Sales & Information

Have some pre-sales questions about our packages or features?

Billing Department

Have a question about your bill or upgrading your package?

Technical Support

Having problems with your Connection? Or setting up your email?

    
  I want to thank the person that helped me. They were great and I learned 2 new things about my email.  
 

From Talia S.
 
t
  • @wasi_r @DSL Extreme Thanks for the awesome service. I am loving it. Also thanks to @leolaporte and @TWiT
  • @jank0 Wanted to thank @DSL Extreme