'Spyware' is a generic term used to describe unauthorised programs that monitor activities on a computer – such as internet surfing habits and browser activity – through the installation of software without the knowledge or consent of the user. Although sometimes innocuous, spyware is predominantly malicious.

Spyware Word Cloud

Beyond monitoring computer activity, spyware programs can also collect various types of personal information and can interfere with user control or alter computer settings.

If you have a good antivirus program on your computer this should be able to remove the spyware, but there are a number of free anti-spyware programmes that can also be downloaded to give your computer extra protection. Here is Techradar's advice on free programmes.

Last updated 29 June 2022