Spy–ware is one of the fastest-growing internet threats. National Cyber Security Alliance informs that spy–ware infects more than 90% of all PCs today. These malicious programs are designed to silently bypass firewalls and anti-virus software without the user?s knowledge. Once embedded in a computer, it can wreak havoc on the system?s performance while gathering your personal information for misuse and gaining financial and other benefit for attacker. Fortunately, unlike vi…
Spyware, Online Protection, Spyware Definition, Securing Online, Preventing Spyware
Spy–ware is one of the fastest-growing internet threats. National Cyber Security Alliance informs that spy–ware infects more than 90% of all PCs today. These malicious programs are designed to silently bypass firewalls and anti-virus software without the user?s knowledge. Once embedded in a computer, it can wreak havoc on the system?s performance while gathering your personal information for misuse and gaining financial and other benefit for attacker. Fortunately, unlike viruses and worms, spyware programs do not usually self-replicate.
Typically, spy–ware originates in three ways. The first and most common way is when the user installs it. In this scenario, spy–ware is embedded, attached, or bundled with a freeware or shareware program without the user?s knowledge, that s almost Trojan trap. The user downloads the program to their computer. Once downloaded, the spy–ware program goes to work collecting data for the spy–ware author?s personal use or to sell to a third-party. Beware of many P2P file-sharing programs. They are notorious & known for downloads that posses spy–ware programs.
Finally, some spy–ware applications infect a system by attacking security holes in the Web browser or other software. When the user navigates a webpage controlled by a spy–ware author, the page contains code designed to attack the browser, and force the installation of the spy–ware program.
What can spy–ware programs do?
Spy–ware programs can accomplish a multitude of malicious tasks. Some of their deeds are simply annoying for the user; others can become downright aggressive in nature.
1. Monitor your keystrokes for reporting purposes.
2. Scan files located on your hard drive.
3. Snoop through applications on our desktop.
4. Install other spy–ware programs into your computer.
5. Read your cookies.
6. Steal credit card numbers, passwords, and other personal information.
7. Change the default settings on your home page web browser.
8. Mutate into a second generation of spy–ware thus making it more difficult to eradicate.
9. Cause your computer to run slower.
10. Deliver annoying pop up advertisements.
11. Add advertising links to web pages for which the author does not get paid. Instead, payment is directed to the spy–ware programmer that changed the original affiliate?s settings.
12. Provide the user with no uninstall option and places itself in unexpected or hidden places within your computer making it difficult to remove.
Here are a few examples of commonly seen spy–ware programs. Please note that while researchers will often give names to spy–ware programs, they may not match the names the spy–ware-writers use.
CoolWebSearch, a group of programs, that install through ?holes? found in Internet Explorer. These programs direct traffic to advertisements on Web sites including http://coolwebsearch.com. This spy–ware nuisance displays pop-up ads, rewrites search engine results, and alters the computer host file to direct the Domain Name System (DNS) to lookup pre-selected sites.
Internet Optimizer (a/k/a DyFuCa), likes to redirect Internet Explorer error pages to advertisements. When the user follows the broken link or enters an erroneous URL, a page of advertisements pop up.
180 Solutions reports extensive information to advertisers about the Web sites which you visit. It also alters HTTP requests for affiliate advertisements linked from a Web site. Therefore the 180 Solutions Company makes an unearned profit off of the click through advertisements they?ve altered.
HuntBar (a/k/a WinTools) or Adware.Websearch, is distributed by Traffic Syndicate and is installed by ActiveX drive-by downloading at affiliate websites or by advertisements displayed by other spy–ware programs. It?s a prime example of how spy–ware can install more spy–ware. These programs will add toolbars to Internet Explorer, track Web browsing behavior, and display advertisements.
How can I prevent spy–ware?
There are a couple things you can do to prevent spy–ware from infecting your computer system. First, invest in a reliable commercial anti-spy–ware program. There are several currently on the market including stand alone software packages such as Lavasoft?s Ad-Aware or Windows Antispyware. Other options provide the anti-spy–ware software as part of an anti-virus package. This type of option is offered by companies such as Sophos, Symantec, and McAfee. Anti-spy–ware programs can combat spy–ware by providing real-time protection, scanning, and removal of any found spy–ware software. As with most programs, update your anti virus software frequently.
O Gosh what should I do?
Be careful on what you re installing, check for user reviews on that stuff and have good updated antivirus and ad–ware, spy–ware remover.