What is spyware…would you recognize it?


May 8, 2005
southernlady submitted a new Article:

What is spyware…would you recognize it?

What is spyware…would you recognize it? Many people say they would but would you really?

Spyware comes in many shapes and from many sources and some we wouldn’t even recognize these days, it’s hidden so well. You don’t even have to agree to install it any more. The installers have figured out a way around that now. It’s called a “drive by” http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1829174,00.asp Also known as an ActiveX drive-by-installer for premium-rate phone dialers. http://www3.ca.com/securityadvisor/pest/pest.aspx?id=453072541 Some drive-bys have begun to show users the license -- but only after the user presses Yes, and only after the software is installed! http://www.benedelman.org/news/092904-1.html

What that means is that you, the consumer, sitting at your computer, can get one of these simply by going by a web site and innocently downloading something.

So just what is spyware, adware, Trojans and all the other terms you hear floating around?

Let’s start with some quick definitions of terms.

Virus: Any program that replicates itself.

Trojan: A program or script that comes in a form that hides its true identity and purpose, or slips in by a hidden method.

Hijacker: A program or script that changes system settings, can change internet settings, and reroute web pages.

Spyware: Small programs which attempt to monitor your habits on the internet. While some spyware will attempt to stay hidden from detection, some will make it's presence known through popup advertisements related to your websurfing habits. While spyware companies claim the software is harmless, infected consumers suffer annoying advertisements, slowdowns, crashes, and other problems.

Worm: A virus that attempts to replicate itself though networked computers using shared files/drives, or vulnerabilities in the operating system.

Keyloggers: Programs that log keypresses, used to steal passwords.

Downloaders: Programs that use security flaws to download unwanted programs in the background. Virus's can use downloaders to update themselves.

Phishers: Email that comes with the purpose of stealing information. The email is normally disquised as coming from a respectable business, and may contain a link for you to "update your account".. Don't do it, it's a trick. If you have a question whether or not the email is real, then call the business and ask.

Malware: Software designed specifically to damage or disrupt a system....

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