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Spyware

Typically, spyware comes in the form of software programs that reside on your PC and monitor your web usage. That usage is gathered electronically and sent back to legitimate companies who use it to mine data and statistics. Most people have unwittingly added spyware to their computers by downloading software from unknown sources, not reading the full download agreement they consented to, or by clicking on pop-ups.

Sometimes, however, these unauthorized third parties are criminals who use the software to monitor all of your key-stroke logging (such as passwords, account numbers, and user names). There are many anti-spyware programs on the market today that will detect and block spyware software. Most are relatively inexpensive.