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Spyware - Definition

Spyware can be considered any software designed to collect and report data from a computer without permission from that computer's owner and/or user. More generally, the term is used as a loose synonym for "adware." So much spyware can collect and run on a system that it slows other, legitimate operations to a crawl. Experts believe four-fifths of all home computers contain spyware of some kind. For that reason, applications devoted to finding and eradicating ad- and spyware have become popular in recent years; these programs include Ad-aware, Spybot – Search & Destroy, Windows Defender and SpyKiller.

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