Learning About Common Computer Privacy Problems

Learning About Common Computer Privacy Problems
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In today’s age of technology, a person’s entire life is placed on a hard drive. People pay their bills online, bank online, communicate and stay in touch online, conduct business and carry out other daily functions using a computer. If a computer privacy problem were to occur, it could send a person’s life into a whirlwind. It is important to understand the common privacy issues that may arise so that you can recognize and then stop them.


Spyware is a form of malicious software that can be installed on a computer. This type of software, once installed, will then collect small bits of information without the user knowing. Spyware can be hard to detect and the user typically does not know this software has been installed. The best way to combat this type of malicious software is to use an anti-spyware program. This will scan for spyware and some will also do double duty and remove it.

Trojan Horse

This is a type of virus. Once this virus is launched it will either modify or destroy data. It is capable of erasing a hard drive or picking and choosing to collect credit card numbers, passwords and other private information. Virus scanners can detect many Trojan horses. They can also get rid of many of them. However, when it comes to this type of virus, the key is to not get one to begin with. Do not open files, sites or anything else that you are not familiar with.

General Virus

This is a type of malicious computer program with the ability to infect a computer and copy itself. A virus sometimes causes apparent symptoms, while others do not call attention and work “behind the scenes” collecting information and data, destroying files or simply reproducing themselves. With the more recent versions of Windows, getting rid of a virus can be as easy as using a restore point. If the virus has attacked this, the user can still remove the virus by rebooting, heading into safe mode and working with the system tools. It is also a good idea to not download or open files or sites that you are not familiar with. This will go a long way toward preventing a virus from infecting your computer to begin with.


Adware is more of a nuisance than anything. However, in some cases, it may come along with privacy-invasive software, such as keyloggers or other types of spyware. Adware includes annoyances such as pop-up ads and other forms of advertisements. The goal is to get the person who generated them revenue. Using ad-blocking software can help to block much of the adware online and other unwelcome advertisements.


Kinkus, J.F. (2002). Computer Security. Retrieved on April 28, 2011 from Purdue University: https://www.library.ucsb.edu/istl/02-fall/internet.html

Hoffman, L.J. (2004). Computer Privacy Threats and Remedies. Retrieved on April 28, 2011 from Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility: https://cpsr.org/prevsite/conferences/cfp91/hoffman3.html/

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