Don't miss an insight. Subscribe to Techopedia for free.



What Does Spyware Mean?

Spyware is infiltration software that secretly monitors unsuspecting users. It can enable a hacker to obtain sensitive information, such as passwords, from the user’s computer. Spyware exploits user and application vulnerabilities and is often attached to free online software downloads or to links that are clicked by users.


Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing has increased the proliferation of spyware and its ramifications.

Techopedia Explains Spyware

Anti-spyware applications locate and remove spyware and are recommended as a preventative line of defense against infiltration and damage.

Anti-virus software removes PC viruses, but anti-virus scans do not always detect spyware. Spyware and cookies are similar, but spyware conducts infiltration activity continuously until it is removed by specific anti-spyware tools.

Users should take the following precautions to prevent spyware attacks:

  • Maintain anti-virus and anti-spyware updates and patches.
  • Download from well-known and reputable sites only.
  • Use a firewall for enhanced security.

Related Terms