The truth about
Spyware and Adware
and Facts that All Internet Users Must Know
You may know spyware
by one of its many names; adware, malware, trackware, scumware, thiefware,
Because of its
stealthy nature, most Internet users are more familiar with the symptoms
of spyware infection:
- sluggish PC performance
- increased pop-up ads
- unexplained homepage change
- mysterious search results.
everyone surfing the Internet, malware and adware are a nuisance, but
if you do not detect spyware on your PC, it can lead to much more serious
consequences like identity theft. Because of the threats that malware
pose, a spyware remover installed on your PC is essential. Gathering spyware
info also helps protect yourself from malicious attacks by adware or malware.
Experts view malware
as a real threat to consumers and businesses. If you're online, you should
be concerned about spyware. You may want to consider adding an anti-spyware
program to your PC to remove spyware.
- Nine out of 10 PCs connected
to the Internet are infected with spyware.*
- A recent spy audit report
published by Earthlink and Webroot found an average of 26.5 spyware
traces are present on a given PC. In a six-month period, two million
scans found 55 million pieces of spyware.
- 92% of corporate IT managers
at companies with more than 100 employees claim they have a "major"
Spyware in the
- "One of the biggest
challenges a computer owner can face is getting rid of adware or spyware..."
Reuters, Feb. 9, 2004
- "Spyware is like
adware, except that it has gone completely over to the dark side,
scanning your hard drive for personal information or attempting to
link your surfing habits to your name or email address." PC World,
July 23, 2003
How does spyware
Even if you're
careful, you can pick up adware and other forms of spyware through normal
Internet activities. For example if you:
Visit any media-supported
website and you're bound to get a tracking cookie
Share music, files or photos with other users
Install software applications without fully reading license agreements
just another passing trend that will eventually fade away?
no. Spyware and adware makers have found a viable financial model that
supports continued activity, whether it's legal or not. Unlike most other
Internet threats, such as viruses that are purely malicious in nature,
malware creators profit enormously by selling information on your surfing
habits, redirecting you to sites you didn't intend to visit, or by bombarding
you with pop-up ads. Since it is almost impossible to find and stop the
makers of adware, or reduce the lucrative financial opportunity, this
trend is here to stay.
includes malware, trackware and adware, is the categorical name for any
application that may track your online and/or offline PC activity and
is capable of locally saving or transmitting those findings for third
parties sometimes with but more often without your knowledge or consent.
Anyone that uses
a computer is susceptible to spyware infection. Your online actions, whether
you're surfing the Internet or checking e-mail, can attract spyware files,
applications or programs. These programs find their way onto your system
and install themselves in several possible places on your PC, including
your registry, start up menu, files and folders. Many spyware programs
ensure their survival by sprinkling traces of the program throughout your
system to make full removal more difficult (and sometimes nearly impossible).
Once installed, spyware operates silently in the background.
onto a PC in a number of ways. It can be installed by a hacker or someone
who uses your computer, through a pop-up window or ad, via an instant
messenger service, or delivered through a spam e-mail or an attachment
in e-mail. File-sharing programs and swapping music, photos or other files
are also well-known avenues for spyware infection. Sometimes spyware is
bundled with a desired program, and is disclosed in buried text as part
of the end-user-license agreement (EULA). These days, spyware may hop
onto your system when you visit certain web sites.
in many forms including adware, keyloggers, Trojans, system monitors,
browser hijackers, and dialers. It ranges from benign - adware tracking
cookies, which let online companies to track your activities on a Web
site and tailor pop-up advertising messages based on your choices - to
more nefarious spyware programs like Trojans, keyloggers and system monitors,
which are capable of capturing keystrokes, online screenshots, and personally
identifiable information like your social security number, bank account
numbers, logins and passwords, or credit card numbers.
identity and private information can be compromised by these malicious
programs. On a corporate level, spyware can compromise network and data
security, corporate assets and trade secrets.
Aside from potential
identity theft, many spyware programs steal from you by cluttering your
computer's memory resources and eating bandwidth as it "talks"
to the spyware's home base using your Internet connection. This could
lead to your computer suffering system crashes and/or slower performance.
If you haven't
thought about it already, you may want to consider a good spyware remover
to protect your PC and your privacy from the prying eyes that are most
likely residing on your system. Today, spyware protection is just as important
as having a good anti-virus program and a firewall.
Web Root (C)2005 Web Root Software Inc.