What Is Anti-Spyware? - Definition & Programs

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and extensive experience working in the business world as Director of Marketing and Business Development at a financial advice firm.

While it may seem to follow that anti-spyware is useful for getting rid of spyware, there is a bit more to it than that. This lesson explains how anti-spyware works to help keep your information safe.

What Is Anti-Spyware?

Think about how much of your life is on your computer or your phone: everything from pictures to phone numbers, bank account information to health information. Simply put, you probably don't want anyone poking around there without your permission. However, there's a problem. Spyware, a type of malware that allows people to spy on your activities on your devices, allows unsavory individuals to gain access to that information! Obviously, that is an outcome that few people would appreciate.

As such, a number of companies have released anti-spyware software that is designed to combat this threat. In this lesson, we will look at who needs anti-spyware, what it does, and different sources of reliable programs.

Who Needs It?

While many people could benefit from the advantages that anti-spyware programs have to offer, a few could certainly use them more than most. After all, there is a gulf of difference with respect to risk between the iPhone user who only uses her device to call and text and the PC user who downloads at will. After all, many mobile phones, including both the iPhone and Android phones, have sophisticated anti-spyware capabilities included in the operating system, and Android phones even let you download additional anti-spyware apps. The same can also be said for computers that only access downloads from reliable locations. If the only thing you download is music from one of the major stores, your risk of spyware is much less than someone who frequently downloads attachments from e-mails. However, in either case, anti-spyware is a relatively easy way to make your computer more secure.

What Does It Do?

Anti-spyware programs have two principal tasks. The first is to prevent spyware from becoming active on your computer in the first place. As such, it runs in the background, looking for any applications that are trying to sneak their way onto your computer or phone. It then alerts you of any points of concern.

Secondly, anti-spyware programs seek to find and delete spyware programs that have made it onto your device. To this end, they scan your hard drive and other disks periodically, making sure that nothing is hiding. This is one of the reasons that, upon initially using an anti-spyware program, many applications ask you to run the scan once, then restart the computer and run it again.

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