Adware, spyware, and grayware are usually installed on a computer without the user's knowledge. These programs collect information stored on the computer, change the computer configuration, or open extra windows on the computer without the user's consent.
Adware is a software program that displays advertising on your computer. Adware is usually distributed with downloaded software. Most often, adware is displayed in a popup window. Adware popup windows are sometimes difficult to control; they open new windows faster than users can close them.
Grayware or malware is a file or program other than a virus that is potentially harmful. Many grayware attacks are phishing attacks, which try to persuade the user to unknowingly give attackers access to personal information. As you fill out an online form, the data is sent to the attacker. Grayware can be removed using spyware and adware removal tools.
Spyware, a type of grayware, is similar to adware. It is distributed without any user intervention or knowledge. After it is installed, the spyware monitors activity on the computer. The spyware then sends this information to the organization responsible for launching the spyware.
Phishing is a form of social engineering, in which the attacker pretends to represent a legitimate outside organization, such as a bank. A potential victim is contacted via e-mail. The attacker might ask for verification of information, such as a password or username, to supposedly prevent some terrible consequence from occurring.
There is rarely a need to give out sensitive personal or financial information online. Be suspicious. Use the postal service to share sensitive information.
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