HOW SENSITIVE PERSONAL INFORMATION CAN BE STOLEN FROM YOUR COMPUTER
Spyware is computer monitoring software secretly installed on a computer via an internet
connection. Spyware tracks and records the keystrokes, activities and internet habits of the user and
then transmits that information to a third party without the user’s permission or knowledge.
Spyware can also be used to obtain sensitive personal information like user names and passwords.
The most common type of spyware is called Adware. Adware keeps track of every internet page
you visit or purchase from in order to determine what your interests are. Your data is then
transmitted to a remote site or third party that processes this information in order to customize
spam and advertisements.
Up to 80% of personal computers in the U.S. contain some type of Spyware. Most users are not
aware that they even have spyware on their personal computer. Once Spyware is installed, it is
difficult, time consuming and expensive to remove it.
How is Spyware Installed?
• Spyware can be attached or ‘bundled’ with free games, accounting software, media players, etc.,
that are available for download from the web. Downloading these programs gives implicit
permission to the provider to install the spyware or adware.
• Spyware can be placed on your computer when you visit or make purchases at certain websites,
click on certain links, respond to pop-up ads, or open and close fake dialog boxes.
• Spyware can be directly installed on computers in public places like copy shops, internet cafes or
How Can I Tell if My Computer Is Infected?
If you have ever downloaded a program offered for free from the Internet or clicked on a link in a
pop-up ad, it is likely that an attempt was made to infect your computer with spyware or adware.
Some signs that you may spyware on your computer are:
• Your home page or your default search engine suddenly or repeatedly change