27 July 2006
Why bother keeping your computer free of spyware and adware? Almost everyone has some type of malware on their computer and Iâ€™ll wager that your identity has never been stolen as a result of having it.
On top of that, spyware often helps companies know what you like so that they can market to you better. So it may seem like no big deal, but there are some good reasons why you should take it seriously. Hereâ€™s why:
1. Spyware and adware can actually cost you a lot of money. When your computer finally runs out of memory and grinds to a halt because all of its resources are being hungrily consumed by malware, youâ€™ll have to take it to a computer shop to get it fixed, which could cost upwards of $100, or fix it yourself (maybe $50-$200 according to the value of your own time). Either way, youâ€™ll definitely miss the use of your computer for a day or three.
2. Youâ€™ll feel safer shopping on the internet knowing that there isnâ€™t a key logger taking down your passwords and credit card numbers, then sending them to www.yourescrewednow.com.
3. You should be keenly aware of how you are trading your privacy in return for â€œfree thingsâ€. This is precisely whatâ€™s happening when you are surfing the web and decide to download what looks like a free piece of software, but is actually laden with spyware or adware (often, this kind of software comes in the form of screensavers, gambling software, or video games). The company that created that software is making a profit by collecting and selling data about you, about how you use their program, and information about your computer in general.
Your information is very valuable to marketing companies, and you should treat it as such. If youâ€™re going to sell it to them, know how much itâ€™s worth, and get a fair price. For me, the tradeoff is not worth it when the free thing Iâ€™m getting is a SpongeBob SquarePants screensaver and the company that created it gets to advertise at me with pop-ups for the rest of my life. You can choose how important your information is to you, and act accordingly.