Updated: 11/12/2023 by Computer Hope

Spyware may refer to any of the following:

Person being watched through binoculars

1. Spyware or snoopware is a program that's intentionally installed on a computer. Spyware is used to monitor what other users of the same computer are doing.

2. Spyware is a program designed to gather information about a user's activity secretly. Spyware programs track users' habits to target them with advertisements better. Spyware is usually installed on a user's machine without their knowledge after clicking a link (intentionally or unintentionally) that redirects the user to a malicious website.


On October 16, 1995, the first recorded use of the term spyware was used in a Usenet post poking fun of Windows 95 source code.

Protecting a computer from spyware

A computer can be infected by spyware by visiting an infected website, downloading infected software, or installing infected software. Most antivirus programs can clean spyware, but it's also a good idea to run an anti-malware or malware cleaner such as Malwarebytes.

How do I know if I have spyware?

Unless something is noticeably different, the only method of detecting spyware on a computer, phone, or tablet would be to have an anti-spyware or anti-malware detection tool.

What is poachware?

Poachware is similar to spyware, except it has also been designed to collect information such as keys, confidential data, password, or username.

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