Spyware is a type of malicious software that is designed to secretly collect information about a user’s activities on a computer or mobile device without their knowledge or consent. It can be installed on a device through various methods, such as downloading infected software, clicking on malicious links, or opening infected email attachments.

Once installed, spyware operates in the background and can monitor and record a user’s keystrokes, web browsing habits, emails, instant messages, and other activities. It can also capture screenshots, track online purchases, steal login credentials, and gather personal information like passwords and credit card details. 

The collected information is usually sent to a remote server controlled by the attacker, who can then use it for various purposes, such as identity theft, financial fraud, or selling the data to third parties. Spyware can also slow down computer performance, cause system crashes, and display unwanted pop-up ads.

To protect against spyware, it is important to have reliable antivirus and anti-spyware software installed on your device. Regularly updating your operating system and software, being cautious while downloading files or clicking on links, and avoiding suspicious websites and email attachments can also help prevent spyware infections.

Most computers that connect to the internet have some spyware on them! Your anti-virus protection will protect you from spyware but for added peace of mind, you can use Spybot Search & Destroy. 

http://www.safer-networking.org/en/spybotsd/index.html