See spyware in Webster''s New World Hacker Dictionary
System administrators are keenly aware that running their desktops while being logged on as an administrator can cause serious security problems. Because administrators have total system authority, any program beginning under this account can perform almost any activity. Recently, spyware pushers have developed means of adding their covert programs to the Windows FirewallÂ’s list of so-called trusted applications. Although trusted applications generally transmit traffic out from the said computer, adding a registry subkey that references the application under the subkey storing trusted applications works only if someone is logged in as an administrator. Administrative accounts should be using sparingly and with caution.
A white paper available from Symantec Security Response outlines various risks affiliated with spyware and adware, cites tests available for discovering spyware, and offers security strategies for dealing with these when discovered. The white paper is at http://enterprisesecurity .symantec.com/content.cfm?articleid=5667.
See spyware in Computer
Software that sends information about your Web surfing habits to its Web site. Often quickly installed in your computer in combination with a free download you selected from the Web, spyware transmits information in the background as you move around the Web. Also known as "parasite software," "scumware," "junkware" and "thiefware," spyware is occasionally installed just by visiting a Web site (see drive-by download).
It Might Even Tell You It's Spyware
The license agreement that everyone accepts without reading may actually state that you are installing spyware and explain what it does. For example, it might say that the program performs anonymous profiling, which means that your habits are being recorded, not you individually. Such software is used to create marketing profiles; for example, people who go to Web site "A" often go to site "B" and so on. Spyware may deliver competing products in real time. For example, if you go to a Web page and look for a minivan, an ad for a competitor's vehicle might pop up (see adware).
Spyware Is Focused
Merchants place ads with spyware advertisers because they feel their promotions are focused. In fact, many feel that the Internet has opened up the most intelligent marketing system the world has ever seen. Merchants say they are targeting prospects who are really interested in their products, and spyware vendors argue that as long as they treat users anonymously, they are not violating privacy.
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