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Spyware and Viruses
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Spyware are dangerous programs that attack your computer and gather personal information without your knowledge.  Viruses may alter or destroy important information on your computer. 

How Spyware And Viruses Work

Spyware monitors when and how you use your computer, as well as the information you enter into it.  Spyware can also track your e-mails and visits to websites.  Spyware programs are installed on computers without the users ever knowing.  Sources of spyware most often include e-mails, e-mail links and websites.

Viruses are most often planted on computers by e-mails, through visits to websites or by clicking on links in pop-ups or e-mail messages.

What Spyware And Viruses Do

Spyware is used to steal important personal information that can be useful in identity theft.  Viruses can corrupt files or even permanently disable your computer's hard drive.

How To Know If Your Computer Has Spyware And Viruses

You may have spyware on your computer if you:

  • suddenly start getting unsolicited e-mails asking for personal information.
  • see unfamiliar transactions on your credit card or bank statements.

A virus may be present on your computer if:

  • it suddenly starts operating slower or reacts in unexpected ways. 
  • you notice missing data or damaged files on your computer.

How To Avoid Spyware And Viruses

The following tips can help you protect yourself from spyware and viruses:

  • Get and use the latest versions of anti-spyware and anti-virus software. 
  • Check your credit card and bank statements carefully each month for unfamiliar or unexpected transactions.
  • Don't retain account numbers or personal information on your computer or in your online accounts.