What is SpywareSpyware is often referred to as adware or malware and is often confused with viruses, but each has distinct characteristics. Most surprising is that anti-virus software will generally not protect you from spyware, and so separate spyware removal software is needed.
AdwareAs its name suggests, adware generates popup ads on your computer as you surf the internet, or may replace a websites ads with its own. These pop-up ads can even be advertising software to remove spyware, but this advertised software can contain more spyware, making the situation worse rather than better.
Often the ads that are displayed may have no relation to the site you are visiting and may be of an adult nature, as these generate more money for the adware companies. Adware software is often bundled with shareware or free software, as a way for the author to earn money, but the fact it contains adware will usually not be clearly labelled.
MalwareMalware is a generic term referring to viruses, trojans and malicious spyware, such as key loggers. It is often used to try and capture passwords and bank/credit card details, or to give someone remote access and complete control over your computer.
SpywareGenerally this refers to software that attempts to track your surfing habits. It may do this by installing monitoring software onto your computer, or by using cookies to track your surfing habits. Either way, a detailed picture of your web activity is built up, and this is invaluable to marketing companies, who use this information to target ads on websites specifically to you.
When you visit a website, the adverts you see, will not necessarily be the same for everyone, as they can be targetted by the country or location you are surfing from, or even targetted based on your surfing habits.
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