Spyware refers to a type of malicious software that gets installed onto a computer without informed consent and tracks and reports information gathered from that computer.
There are, of course, many different forms of spyware and each form has a different intent. Some are spyware makers are at least trying to walk that line of legality while others are so far past it they wouldn’t even pretend.
Understanding all of the threats that may face your computer at one point or another is important. Chances are you are running software designed to protect against malicious software, but you might not know exactly what damage can be done without it.
So the following takes a look at some of the various threats involved with different types of spyware.
Spyware And Keystroke Tracking
Some applications run in the background of your computer and are designed so that they won’t be easily found out.
Then they actually create a log of every key that is pressed on the computer when writing emails, creating documents, surfing the web or entering passwords. Virtually everything will get logged and then reported back through unseen transmission.
Sometimes these applications are actually installed directly onto the computer on purpose to track employees or to spy on a spouse.
Spyware And Advertising
There is advertising all over the internet and that’s what makes it tick. Fair enough. Visit a site, click on an ad and everyone is happy. With spyware though, advertisers can track your browsing and even purchasing habits. That way they’ll know which advertisements to send your way.
Via adware they’ll then pretty much bombard you with advertisements in a way that pretty much destroys the computer using experience.
Stealware Is Another Form Of Spyware
One form of spyware earned itself this dubbing. This type of malicious software doesn’t go after the end user directly but rather diverts money from legitimate affiliate marketing campaigns. For instance, a person might click on an ad which sends them to a retail site where they buy a product.
The site that sent them there earns a commission. This type of spyware inserts its own affiliate tag into the user info thereby diverting money away from the real affiliate.
A Widely Used Form Of Spyware Was Dialing
One of the many things spyware programs are good at doing is changing different configurations on a computer. A popular form of spyware essentially hacks the modem and causes it to dial phone numbers that will cost the computer owner money.
These can be 900 numbers or overseas ISPs. The computer owner will wind up with one large phone bill and the spyware distributor will be reaping all kinds of benefits.
Spyware Can Change Your Software Settings
More than just reprogramming a modem, spyware can also change the settings to a lot of different things. For instance, it can change the user preferences or default settings of virtually any installed software.
This includes web browsers.
By doing this the spyware can effectively open the door for all sorts of other attacks because it has weakened the computer’s defenses. From there the criminals can have easier access to do just about anything they want.
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