What is spyware
and where did
it come from?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Spyware is a type of malware that is installed on
computers and collects little bits
of information at a time 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 the software 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 or functionality of other
programs. In an attempt to increase the understanding of spyware, a more formal classification of its included
software types is captured under the term privacy-invasive
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.
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