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Anti-spyware is a type of software that is designed to detect and remove unwanted spyware programs. Spyware is a type of malware that is installed on a computer without the user's knowledge in order to collect information about them. This can pose a security risk to the user, but more frequently spyware degrades system performance by taking up processing power, installing additional software, or redirecting users' browser activity.
Anti-spyware may also be called apyware on the Internet. Because "a" and "s" sit next to each other on the keyboard, many people accidentally type "apyware" when they try to search "spyware." Manufacturers and other interested parties capitalize on this by advertising "apyware."
Anti-spyware software detects spyware through rules-based methods or based on downloaded definition files that identify common spyware programs. Anti-spyware software can be used to find and remove spyware that has already been installed on the user's computer, or it can act much like an anti-virus program by providing real-time protection and preventing spyware from being downloaded in the first place.
Most modern-day security suites bundle anti-spyware functionality alongside anti-virus protection, personal firewalls, etc.