Spyware is software that has been installed on your computer without your consent. It is most often used to obtain personal information by monitoring or controlling your computer.

Signs of Spyware

It is important to be aware of the following signs of spyware, although you should note that in some cases there may be none at all.

  • You receive frequent pop-up advertisements. If you are constantly receiving pop-up ads, see them as soon as you turn on your computer or see them when you’re not even browsing the Internet, you may have spyware on your computer.

  • You are directed to sites other than those you type into the address box. Spyware can cause your browser to be hijacked and take you to sites other than those you type into the address box.

  • Your home page or search page settings change. Spyware can change your home page or search page settings and even if you try to correct them, the settings will change back every time you restart your computer.

  • Your Web browser has components that you did not download. Spyware can add items such as toolbars or icons to your Web browser that will return each time you restart your computer even if you have previously deleted them.

  • Some of the keys on your keyboard stop working. Spyware can cause keys on your keyboard to lose function.

  • Your computer is slower than usual. If your computer is slower than usual at performing routine tasks you may have spyware. Spyware can also make certain programs on your computer crash or even cause your computer itself to crash.

  • You receive random error messages. Receiving random or frequent error messages can be a sign of spyware.

Preventing Spyware

There are several things you can do to decrease the chance of spyware being installed on your computer:

  • Install anti-virus and firewall software.




Industry Canada Web Service Centre
C.D. Howe Building
235 Queen Street

Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0H5

Telephone: 613-954-5031
Toll Free: 1-800-328-6189 (Canada)
Phone (TTY): 1-866-694-8389
Fax: 613-954-2340


Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

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Place de Ville Tower B
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Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 1H3

Telephone: 613-995-8210
Toll Free: 1-800-282-1376
Phone (TTY): 613-992-9190
Fax: 613-947-6850


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Phone (TTY): 1-800-465-7735
Fax: 613-941-0827


Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

RCMP Public Affairs and Communications Services

Headquarters Building
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Telephone: 613-993-7267
Fax: 613-993-0260


The Canadian Anti-fraud Centre

Box 686

North Bay, Ontario  P1B 8J8

Telephone: 1-705-495-8501 (Overseas and Local)
Toll Free: 1-888-495-8501