Identity Theft Prevention:  The Beginning - What do you mean "Spyware"  
     
  Identity Theft is becoming increasingly more prevalent.  The relative ease with which one can "infect" a person's computer has become easier with email and web browsing.  The first thing to remember is that preventing infections are always easier than removing them.

The easiest way for someone to gain access to your private information (user names, passwords, credit card accounts, bank accounts, trading accounts and the like), is to deposit a piece of "Spyware" onto your computer.  What is Spyware?  Simply put it is an infection of a small program that runs in the background without your knowledge, and accumulates information you enter on your computer.  It then typically will encrypt that information and "phone home" with it (sends it out on the internet to a server).  You probably think it's unlikely that could happen to you.  Most people do.  In June of 2000 Mattel Inc. was caught inserting spyware into their children's games.  Games like Dr. Seuss's ABC.  They claimed it was simply a connection that allowed them to update the game with "fixes" and allow them to show additional games they offered.  They volunteered to have it only install if the user answered "yes" to "are you 13 years or older?"  It is illegal to "observe" children's computer habits under the age of 13.  Now while it is unlikely Mattel was collecting user names, passwords or the like, it is very disturbing to think that this spyware was installed without one's consent or knowledge.  If a stranger knocked on your door and asked you "would you mind if I stand behind your child while he/she is on the computer and just write down what they are doing?"  I doubt any of us would allow that.  Further, the types of spyware that are infecting computers is growing in leaps and bounds.  Depending on your source there are anywhere from 1000 to 10,000 different types of spyware that can infect your PC and deliver information back to the initiator.

How does spyware get into your computer?  Continue =>