There is a law student whose thesis is about money laundering so oftentimes she will use Google to search for the term to come up with a ready list of online references. This proves to be useful to her and the entire process of writing her paper. After several months of doing so, she is confronted with issues like being redirected to a random web page completely unrelated to money laundering each time she types the same words.

At first she thinks it's just a glitch and then she realizes that, no, it may be an error in Google, but the persistent occurrence of such errors makes her believe that someone has bugged her. What this law student is confronted with is a computer error that she cannot fight off. For one, she is not a technology savvy person, and second she never uses her laptop for anything but academic purposes.

This may sound like an isolated case, but it's far from isolated. Many many people who struggle with computer problems are the unwitting victims of a common issue. There are tiny bits of code that can download themselves onto a victims computer called spyware and adware.

The term spyware was first coined in 1995 and made popular toward 2000. Spyware includes any software that is secretly downloaded or installed onto a computer and collects/sends information without the user's knowledge or consent.

This information is collected by recording keyboard keystrokes, sniffing out web browsing history and even looking through a user's files.

The scary thing is this spyware can install itself even if you don't use your computer for suspicious activities.

It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie doesn't it? Well, I assure you it is all too real.

Do you have anti-spyware software on your computer? Do you use it? Do you update your anti-spyware software regularly?

Perhaps you should.