What is Adware?
Adware is software that is downloaded to your computer, knowingly or unknowingly, that promotes advertisements, commonly with toolbars or pop-up ads. Often free downloads may include adware to support development costs. Adware is not always malicious, it normally will record your internet activity and send it to advertisers. Once advertisers have this info, they will target you with pop-ups, toolbars, and spam designed for you based on your interests.
What is a Key Logger?
A keylogger is a piece of software that records every keystroke that you type on the keyboard. This is extremely dangerous, as your passwords, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and other sensitive information can all land in the hands of a thief. Keylogging is one of the biggest reasons that identity theft is such a problem across the world right now. Every 3 seconds someone is a victim of identity theft.
Keyloggers can also monitor your activity, take screenshots, watch your e-mails and chats… To discover keyloggers on your computer, you should run trusted anti-spyware software and weed out whatever malware/spyware may exist.
How did my computer get infected?
The most common ways we wind up with spyware and viruses are freeware/shareware, peer-to-peer software (p2p), e-mail attachments, and questionable websites.
FREEWARE/SHAREWARE: If you have downloaded shareware or freeware recently, this could be the reason your computer is having trouble. These free or low-cost software applications are sometimes bundled with software that you never asked for, such as spyware, adware, and keyloggers. The developers of the free software use these methods to ‘pay themselves’ for the cost of creating the free software.
PEER-TO-PEER (P2P) SOFTWARE: If you or someone who uses your computer downloads music, movies, or other files, you are putting your computer at risk. You may unknowingly download an mp3, for example, that is infected.
E-MAIL ATTACHMENTS: Sometimes a contact of yours may unknowingly send you an infected attachment if his/her computer is infected. For this reason, you need to scan any attachment that you download.
QUESTIONABLE WEBSITES: If you visit a malicious website, you are putting yourself at risk. Malware can be automatically installed onto your computer on questionable websites. For this reason, I recommend that you have an active internet browsing scanner at all times.