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Examples of spyware and what are they?

2019-04-09 Technology No comment

Spyware is a generic term used to describe software that performs certain actions, such as advertising, collecting personal information, or changing the configuration of a computer, usually without first obtaining your consent.

Spyware is typically associated with software that displays advertisements [called adware] or software that tracks personal or sensitive information.

This does not mean that all software that provides advertising or tracks your online activity is terrible. For example, you can sign up for a free music service, but by agreeing to receive targeted ads, you can "pay" for the service. If you understand these terms and agree to them, you may have determined that this is a fair trade-off. You may also agree to let the company track your online activity to determine which ads to show you.

Other types of spyware can make changes to your computer, which can bother you and can cause your computer to slow down or crash.

These programs can change the web browser home page or search page, or add other unwanted or unwanted components to the browser. These programs also make it difficult to change settings back to their original settings.

In all cases, the key is whether you [or someone using your computer] understand what the software will do and agree to install the software on your computer.

Spyware or other unwanted software can enter your computer in a variety of ways. A common trick is to covertly install software, such as music or video file sharing programs, when installing other software you want.

Any software that implicitly collects user information through the user's Internet connection is typically used for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are often bundled as hidden components of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet; however, it should be noted that most shareware and freeware applications do not ship with SpyWare. After installation, spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits this information to others in the background. Spyware can also collect information about email addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers.

In addition to ethical and privacy issues, SpyWare steals users by using the computer's memory resources and the bandwidth used to send information back to the spyware home base through the user's Internet connection. Because SpyWare uses memory and system resources, applications running in the background can cause system crashes or general system instability.

Because SpyWare exists as a stand-alone executable, they can monitor keystrokes, scan files on the hard drive, spy on other applications, such as chat programs or word processors, install other SpyWare programs, read cookies, and change the default home page. The web browser constantly forwards this information to the SpyWare author, who uses it for advertising/marketing purposes or sells the information to the other party.

The license agreement accompanying the software download sometimes warns the user that the SpyWare program will be installed with the requested software, but the license agreement may not always be fully read, as the notifications for SpyWare installations are usually blunt and difficult to install. Read the legal disclaimer.

SpyWare example

These common SpyWare programs illustrate the diversity of behaviors found in these attacks. Note that like computer viruses, researchers name SpyWare programs that may not be used by their creators. Programs may be grouped into "families" based not on shared program code but on common behavior, or through "following funds" for obvious financial or business relationships. For example, many of the SpyWare programs distributed by Claria are collectively referred to as "Gator." Similarly, programs that are frequently installed together may be described as part of the same SpyWare package, even if they are run separately.

o CoolWebSearch is a set of programs that exploits vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. This package directs traffic to ads on the site, including coolwebsearch.com. It displays pop-up ads, rewrites search engine results, and changes the host file of the infected computer to direct DNS lookups to those sites.

o Internet Optimizer [also known as DyFuCa] redirects Internet Explorer error pages to ads. When users focus on broken links or enter incorrect URLs, they see a page of ads. However, because password-protected websites [HTTP Basic Authentication] use the same mechanisms as HTTP errors, the Internet Optimizer prevents users from accessing password-protected websites.

o Zango [formerly known as 180 Solutions] sends advertisers detailed information about the websites they visit. It also changed the HTTP request for affiliate ads linked from the site so that the ads brought unprofitable profits to 180 Solutions Company. It opens a pop-up ad that covers the competing company’s website.

o HuntBar, also known as WinTools or adware, is installed via ActiveX driver downloads on the affiliate site or other SpyWare apps – this is an example of how SpyWare can install more SpyWare. These programs add toolbars to IE, track aggregate browsing behavior, redirect federated references, and display ads.

oZlob Trojan or just Zlob, download itself to your computer via the ActiveX codec and report the information back to the Control Server. Some information can be used as your search history, websites you've visited, and even button strokes.

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