Ever since I've been helping people fix or repair their computers, spyware & computer viruses are usually the two culprits for most of their concerns. For the purposes of this article, we will only discuss spyware.
Here is a list of the top 10 activities that spyware can do after its installed on a PC: (By the way, these are in random order off the top of my head)
1) Monitor your keystrokes for reporting purposes.
2) Scan files located on your hard drive.
3) Snoop through applications on your desktop.
4) Install other spyware programs into your computer just by activating itself.
5) Read your cookies to interpret information.
6) Steal credit card numbers, passwords, and other personal information.
7) Change the default settings on your home page web browser. (Usually the homepage is changed to some random porn site)
8) Mutate into a second generation of spyware (see # 4 above) making it more difficult to eradicate.
9) Cause your computer to run slower....and slower....and slower......
10) Deliver annoying pop up advertisements basically causing your PC to lock up due to lack of available RAM.
Ok......I just thought about 2 more so now its a Top 12 list........
11) Add advertising links to web pages for which the author does not get paid. Instead, payment is directed to the spyware programmer that changed the original affiliate’s settings.
12) Provide the user with no uninstall option and places itself in unexpected or hidden places within your computer making it difficult or actually impossible to remove.
Stay tuned.....next we will discuss ways to remove spyware.
If you think you may have a virus instead, read my article on how not to get a virus.