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Spyware versus Adware; the Difference Impacts Your Privacy
by: Sharron Senter
Many people use the terms Spyware and Adware interchangeably. You shouldn’t! There are important differences between the two. True, both terms refer to the act of tracking your computer activity, such as how long you visited a particular Web site.

However, the key difference is the intent behind how and why a business collects your information. Adware is commonly associated with pop-up advertisements used by businesses trying to sell you something. However, Spyware, the more malicious of the two, isn’t trying to sell you, instead, it’s trying to take something from you -- your credit card and social security numbers and bank account information. Some Spyware collects information about you and, if placed in the wrong hands, could be detrimental to your financial wellbeing and used to steal your identity. Adware is usually something you can see. Whereas Spyware often can’t be seen, in fact, businesses behind Spyware don’t want you to know they’re lurking. Therefore, you may have a Spyware infection and not know it. One vicious Spyware is keylogging, a tool that hangs about in the background, logging your keystrokes, including account numbers and passwords you type on your keyboard, and then sends the information to the originating source.

Future of Spyware
Spyware will only become more invasive with no concern for your privacy, regardless of what you want or think. Worse, no one piece of software will protect you from the above. Why? One belief is that there are far more research dollars being spent on developing Spyware than combating it, since the information derived from the former is more lucrative.

Protecting Yourself
There are two methods to protect yourself, both are equally important.
1. Manage your computer usage behavior. If you download most anything for free – movies, software, music, etc., then you can anticipate being exposed to highly aggressive forms of Spyware.
2. Utilize anti-spyware software programs and a hardware firewall. Both help to fend off Spyware. Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware se and Microsoft’s AntiSpyware (Beta) programs are reputable.

About the author:

About the Author
Sharron Senter is co-founder of an on site computer repair, security and networking company serving north of Boston, Southern NH and Maine. Visiting Geeks’ technicians are crackerjacks at squashing viruses, popups and securing and making computers perform faster. Learn more about Sharron at

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