You think viruses, worms, blended threats and spam are bad? Spyware is worse...
Spyware is software - a program file, a browser helper
object, or a dynamic link library, for example - installed
on your computer, without your knowledge or permission.
Sometimes called adware, nastyware, crapware, scumware, and
worse, it's all aggravating, and intrusive.
Dave Piscitello - Core Competence, Inc
Spyware is the
catchy name for malicious software that
hides on your computer and sends information
about you, your PC, or your Web-surfing
habits to someone else on the Internet.
Spyware takes many forms. It can be a
program that starts over whenever you
restart your computer, Web "bugs" that
invisibly track your clicks, or even code
that takes over Internet Explorer (IE) and
steers it someplace you didn't want to go.
Most often, malicious
advertisers use spyware to gather
information about what Web pages you visit
and what you buy online. They use their
findings to forcefully deliver ads to your
computer that match your interests. Although
this doesn't sound too nefarious, the
ad-delivering spyware can clog up your
computer, slowing it down or even crashing
it. Plus, their diabolically persistent
pop-up ads can drive the sanest user mad.
Even the most polite spyware does not have
your interests at heart. It's there to
Spyware also takes
more harmful forms. For instance, some
spyware records your keystrokes. These
malicious variants can learn your logins,
passwords, and even your credit card
information. The spyware creators swear that
they won't exploit this private data. That's
like someone sneaking into your house
through a window, then when caught,
promising, "I won't hurt anything, I just
want to watch you." Creepy!
Whether you encounter
the pesky ad-generating variety or the more
stealthy, sinister variations, spyware is
generally something you don't want.
Nachreiner - WatchGuard Technologies