One of the most important things for you to understand is just how spyware spreads. How does it get from its source to your computer? By understanding this fact, you’ll know how to better protect yourself from future invasion. It’s Not A Virus One thing to know is that spyware and adware are not viruses and don’t spread in the same way as a virus would. With a virus, the infected computer system is used to spread the virus from one system to the next. It is actively looking for the next victim. Spyware gets into your system by deception. In most cases, you download it to your computer. You’ve Installed It Most commonly, spyware enters the computer when the computer user installs it. Of course, you wouldn’t know that you are doing that. What happens is quite a bit more worrisome. You visit a website and find a piece of software that you would like to have. You download it. Little did you know that the software that you just downloaded had spyware piggybacked onto it and now you’ve got both the desirable software and the spyware lurking on your computer. You may not even know it’s there for months! Or, you may have the spyware trick you into downloading it. In this case, you may be asked to perform an operation that is “required” to complete the download. When you do, you are actually downloading the spyware or adware onto your computer. Some of the newest versions of this software are even more devastating because they promise to protect your computer. You may download a program and it offers security software with its download. You download it thinking it’s stopping spyware when in fact it is doing the opposite. It’s actually the spyware itself. In some cases, the spyware gets onto your computer by pretending to offer you a useful service or tool. For example, a common type of spyware “giveaway” is a web accelerator, promising to speed up your interactions online, making surfing the net faster. It’s not going to do this for you at all. Some of these types of programs have even been targeted at children. They may offer a “friend” that gets to monitor what your child does online, keeping them safe and giving them the ability to do things online without your watchful eye. The problem is he may also be a spyware tool that will target ads directly at your child during those sessions with him.