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Combating Spyware and Malware

Malware, short for "malicious software," includes viruses and spyware that can steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud. Criminals use appealing websites, desirable downloads, and compelling stories to lure consumers to links that will download malware – especially on computers that don't use adequate security software. Spyware is one type of malware that can monitor or control your computer use. It may be used to send consumers pop-up ads, redirect their computers to unwanted websites, monitor their Internet surfing, or record their keystrokes, which, in turn, could lead to identity theft. There are several steps consumers can take to avoid malware and spyware, such as having up-to-date security software on their computers. There also are steps they can take to reclaim their computers and electronic information.