Spyware spread quickly across the internet world forcing users to become aware of the prevalent threats facing their privacy while surfing the internet. A PC will begin to run slower, have difficulty accessing the internet, have a reduced bandwidth, show unwanted pop-ups and or alter the start page. A spyware infection means your personal information is being exposed to individuals or companies without your knowledge or approval. Spyware collects information on your internet and computer usage habits as well as more serious information including personal identification and credit card numbers. Many spyware applications can run silently, leaving you in the dark about the information being released from your computer. Even without symptoms users must beware of spyware infections. By downloading from freeware programs, such as free music file-sharing or game programs, then your computer most likely has spyware. Downloading ring tones, screensavers, and other free applications usually result in spyware piggybacking in your computer with the downloads. Other forms of dangerous spyware include Browser hijackers that let advertisements run on your computer through your internet browser without your knowledge. The damage from this spyware can also draw your attention to other annoying pop-up ads and spam. On the other side spyware also acts as a form of internet terrorism by leaving you and your computer vulnerable to attack. Spies intentionally write malicious code into popular websites or secretly install harmful scripts into your web pages. These applications are then used by cybercriminals to steal your personal information and private customer data. Credit card information is sent back to the intruder, who then uses it to steal your identity, and cause you to financially suffer. Many forms of spyware can run undetected, leaving your computer vulnerable to acts of vandalism and sabotage. Spyware is necessary to deliver important information, such as password resets and mobile verification codes to your web browser for authentication. However, if the wrong person gets access to your computer, the information can be stolen. The best way to safeguard your personal information and computer is by downloading and using anti-spyware software and habits. Trial versions of anti-spyware are free, while paid versions are required to remove any problems. Using a firewall protects your computer from spyware, hacker attacks, and viruses. Spyware is a common term in today's computer world affecting programs, websites, and user's acts. Today's internet security software can remove or prevent access to spyware which may allow being installed on your computer. A good internet security program uses two approaches to protect your computer: active protection and preventative. While both of these methods help secure your computer they are different in how they are implemented. Passive protection is nothing but a series of random activities or actions by the software which is authorized access to your computer. In other words, it works to keep the software and the data secure when in the knowledge that it is not authorized to do so. It will not load information or programs on the computer unless it is instructed to by the user or administrator of the computer. Active protection has been around for a while now and is now offered in a variety of means by different companies. It is now offered in the form of a hardware device called a personal firewall. Personal firewalls are normally hardware-based and wedge-shaped devices that form shadows over the computer terminal. The basic concept is that the small device acts as a guard for the computer, between the computer terminal and the world outside of the computer. If a nefarious person tries to get into your computer without your knowledge they may be able to see some of the information that you are sending or receiving through the internet. In order to prevent this from happening you can make sure that only clear text (no data is sent over the internet in clear text) is seen through the device. You can also choose to encrypt data before sending it, which makes it so difficult for people to see what they are looking for. A personal firewall is software, which can filter both incoming and outgoing network data. The firewall will check incoming requests and only allows access to those that you have made known to you, or based on what you have permitted. It will not allow, for example, a person to forward unsolicited emails. Spam, a common annoyance when you are online, is actually a tool to catch bad packets of data so that your network does not have to waste valuable resources. Spam is often used for marketing purposes, where target consumers are contacted through unsolicited emails. Personal firewalls can be set to check all emails that come into your inbox and deny access to those that are unwanted.