What the heck is all this talk about "Spyware"!

Spyware, adware, or malware, it all amounts to the same thing but by varying degrees. They are all mini programs that are installed without your consent and often without your knowledge. They can come in with spam email, although usually, they come in with a pop-up ad or by someone clicking a link in a questionable ad. They are also capable of entering your system in the same manner as a "worm" or modern virus. Just the very act of connecting to the Internet can allow one of these vicious little bugs to enter your system.

Often, the earliest signs of spyware infection is an increase of those annoying pop-up ads. When it starts, the problem can grow exponentially. It often gets so bad that the computer is virtually unusable. By the way, don't click on any pop-up ads even if it appears to be an ad offering to clean your machine. By clicking on a pop-up ad, you invariably download and install spyware of some sort or other.

The majority of spyware is intended to track your Internet usage merely to target you with advertising most likely to interest you. However, some of the most malicious (hence the term "malware") may download trojans or keystroke loggers to your system.

A trojan is a program that installs a "backdoor" access which could allow a bad guy anywhere in the world to take control of your system. These are often used to create "zombie" machines that can do anything from DOS (denial of service attacks) against popular Internet sites to hosting files of questionable or illegal content for illicit websites.

In our opinion, the scariest spyware of all comes in the form of keystroke loggers. These little devils record every keystoke on the infested machine and are sometimes capable of "phoning home". Imagine a program recording your Internet banking Access ID and password and transmitting this information to a malicious hacker. Or recording your private instant messaging conversations. Not to mention collecting your credit card number and expiration date the next time you make a purchase online.

Fortunately, there are some excellent tools for cleaning and maintaining your computer. Most are quite easy to use and many offer a free download or trial period.

Danville State Savings Bank encourages you to use an Internet firewall anytime you are physically connected to the Internet to protect both your hardware and any personal information you may have stored on your computer.

We also encourage you to check out the following link to many popular anti-spyware applications:

Spyware removal help page, courtesy of PCWorld magazine

*** This information is provided free of charge and is simply for the convenience of our customers. There is no warranty as to the accuracy of the information and no fitness-for-purpose guarantee for any product is to be implied. Danville State Savings Bank does not endorse the use of one product over another and is in no way able to provide individual computer support. If you require assistance, please seek out a qualified computer repair professional.

For more information, contact us via E-mail at  customer.service@danvillebank.com or call 392-4261 (Tollfree 877-392-4261)

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