There are many definitions on the Internet about spyware:
Spyware, also known as adware, is Internet jargon for any data collection program that secretly gathers information about you and relays it to advertisers and other interested parties.
A general term for a program that monitors your actions.
It's a secret code hidden in an otherwise harmless program. Spyware permits unauthorized access to a computer, allowing someone else to observe the user, read data, or even control the computer.
Spyware is a program that, when installed on your computer, changes settings, displays advertising, and/or tracks Internet behavior and report information back to a central database.
In most cases, users unknowingly install spyware by installing new software, most commonly a piece of freeware or shareware (such as KaZaA, WeatherBug, etc.). In most cases, many of these programs have one purpose: to track your Internet browsing habits, such as frequented website and favorite downloads. They then provide various advertising companies with marketing data.
Some spyware programs, such as CommonName, Gator, MealDumb, can adversely affect your computer's performance.
There are a few easy ways to tell if your computer has been infected by spyware:
One or more toolbars have appeared within Internet Explorer.
Your Internet Explorer "home" page has changed to a different website (generally a search webpage).
Programs, such as Microsoft Outlook, are running slower.
Advertisements (pop-ups) instantly appear - even with you're not browsing the Internet.
For more information on spyware, download our free whitepaper (Adobe Acrobat file) by clicking here.