Spyware

related topics
{system, computer, user}
{math, number, function}
{law, state, case}
{company, market, business}
{work, book, publish}
{disease, patient, cell}
{film, series, show}
{specie, animal, plant}
{woman, child, man}
{school, student, university}

Spyware is a type of malware that can be installed on computers, and which collects small pieces of information about users without their knowledge. The presence of spyware is typically hidden from the user, and can be difficult to detect. Typically, spyware is secretly installed on the user's personal computer. Sometimes, however, spywares such as keyloggers are installed by the owner of a shared, corporate, or public computer on purpose in order to secretly monitor other users.

While the term spyware suggests software that secretly monitors the user's computing, the functions of spyware extend well beyond simple monitoring. Spyware programs can collect various types of personal information, such as Internet surfing habits and sites that have been visited, but can also interfere with user control of the computer in other ways, such as installing additional software and redirecting Web browser activity. Spyware is known to change computer settings, resulting in slow connection speeds, different home pages, and/or loss of Internet connection or functionality of other programs. In an attempt to increase the understanding of spyware, a more formal classification of its included software types is provided by the term privacy-invasive software.

In response to the emergence of spyware, a small industry has sprung up dealing in anti-spyware software. Running anti-spyware software has become a widely recognized element of computer security practices for computers, especially those running Microsoft Windows. A number of jurisdictions have passed anti-spyware laws, which usually target any software that is surreptitiously installed to control a user's computer.

Contents

Full article ▸

related documents
Parallel computing
X86 architecture
WordPerfect
Malware
Mach (kernel)
Unix
PID controller
NTFS
Trusted Computing
Network address translation
Resource fork
Booting
Analog-to-digital converter
Instant messaging
Symbian OS
RAID
JPEG
CP/M
IBM PC compatible
Timeline of computing 1950–1979
I²C
Phreaking
Universal Mobile Telecommunications System
Sinclair ZX81
Framebuffer
Smart card
Celeron
Serial port
X.25
SCART