University of California, Riverside


Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender

Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender

What is Spyware and Anti-Spyware software?

Spyware is software that gathers information about users web-surfing habits for mainly money-making purposes, while taking up memory and space on each computer. Spyware (also referred to as adware or malware) installs itself on unsuspecting users machines by ‘piggybacking’ on programs people choose to download. Many times the very fine print user agreements mention ‘free’ downloads and services as long as it is agreed the company will use spyware to monitor web habits for business research purposes.

Most spyware does this either by generating pop-up advertising on a computer, hoping the user will click on the ads and make purchases, or by stealing information (either personal information such as credit card numbers or sensitive corporate data) from the computer and passing it on to third parties. Some kinds of spyware, called keyloggers, actually record everything that is typed on the computer and pass that on to a third party.

Anti-spyware software detects and removes spyware from the computer. The software scans the computer and tags the spyware programs for either quarantine or deletion. Many times numerous spyware programs are resident in computers without the users knowledge. As with anti-virus software, anti-spyware software also needs to be updated regularly in order to get the latest version to protect users from the latest variants constantly being produced.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials is a free anti-virus you can download on personal computers to help protect computers running Windows Vista, and Windows 7 against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

Windows Defender

Note: In Windows 8 and Windows 10, Windows Defender replaces Microsoft Security Essentials and comes with the operating system. Windows Defender runs in the background and notifies you when you need to take specific action. However, you can use it anytime to scan for malware if your computer isn't working properly or you clicked a suspicious link online or in an email message.

Learn more about Windows Defender

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Computing & Communications
Computing & Communications Bldg.

Tel: (951) 827-4741
Fax: (951) 827-4541