Spyware and malware

In addition to threats to your computer from viruses and Trojan horses, your computer security and privacy are at risk in other ways when you connect to the Internet. Two of these threats are programs called spyware and malware.

What are spyware and malware?

Programs such as spyware and malware are installed on your computer—typically without your knowledge—to gather and refer information about you to advertisers and other interested parties. Without your knowledge, spyware and malware can be easily installed when you access certain Web sites or download certain programs (e.g., file sharing programs). These programs do a number of things besides gathering information about you. For example, they can

  • slow down your computer,
  • slow down the campus network,
  • significantly increase unwanted pop-up windows, and
  • cause your browser to open to a different or undesirable Web site (called "hijacking").

A number of free programs are available to help you prevent spyware and malware from infecting your computer as well as programs to detect and remove spyware and malware from your computer. Check the link below for more information about a program for Windows-based computers: