Cyber Security - Information Security at the University of Central Oklahoma

Eek... Spyware!

What is spyware? Spyware is a type of computer program that attaches itself to your operating system, generally without your permission or knowledge.  It can be designed to track your Internet use, generate advertising pop-ups, take you to advertising sites, or sometimes even log information that you type into your computer.  It can make your computer run extremely slow, bog down your network, or it could run quietly in the background and hardly be noticed at all.  Spyware is a prevalent problem, and may even be infecting a majority of systems connected to the Internet.  It is a problem that continues to grow for organizations and home users alike.

How do I recognize and avoid spyware? Because of its popularity, the internet has become an ideal target for advertising.  As a result, spyware, or adware, has become increasingly prevalent.  When troubleshooting problems with your computer, you may discover that the source of the problem is spyware software that has been installed on your machine without your knowledge.

How do you know if there is spyware on your computer? The following symptoms may indicate that spyware is installed on your computer:

How can you prevent spyware from installing on your computer? To avoid unintentionally installing it yourself, follow these good security practices:

As an additional good security practice, especially if you are concerned that you might have spyware on your machine and want to minimize the impact, consider taking the following action:

How do you remove spyware? Run a full scan on your computer with your anti-virus software. Some anti-virus software will find and remove spyware, but it may not find the spyware when it is monitoring your computer in real time. Set your anti-virus software to prompt you to run a full scan periodically.  Run a legitimate product specifically designed to remove spyware. Many vendors offer products that will scan your computer for spyware and remove any spyware software.


This information was reproduced from the DAS Information Security Office and MS-ISAC.



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