The primary drawback of spyware is that it can collect personal information without the user's knowledge. This information can include the history of web browsing or credit card details, or passwords that could be used to make unauthorized purchases or withdraw money. It is also possible to track the activities of online users and collect information about a computer's Internet settings and local network settings to regulate the way it is used.
This can be accomplished by many methods, such as installing other applications on the device, and changing dynamically linked libraries which is the way applications are connected to the Internet. Spyware can also trigger other problems, ranging from numerous pop-up advertisements to connectivity failures that can be difficult to determine. It can alter the security settings of your PC to allow more malware.
Spyware is able to hog system resources, using CPU power, memory and disk space. This can result in slow applications, poor performance and even system crashes. It is also possible to steal private information and redirect users to untrusted websites.
Users can mitigate the threats of spyware by becoming educated on its dangers. They should avoid downloading software from sites that appear suspicious. They should read the fine print of any agreement before signing it. Don't click on pop-ups that offer links to install spyware. They should also use secure passwords for all accounts, and avoid reusing them across multiple applications. In addition, they should frequently check their computers for anti-spyware and make sure to keep their security up-to-date.