Spyware Types

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Spyware is software that collects information from a computer without the user knowing about it. There are many different types of spyware being used on the Internet today. Generally speaking, spyware can be grouped into a couple types:

Legitimate: This is software that is sold on the retail market to individuals and Employers. The software is used to monitor what employees are doing on their computers during working hours. Parents also use this spyware to monitor and protect their children. This type of spyware is sometimes called “domestic” spyware. This domestic spyware is often used by both law enforcement and criminal elements. Law enforcement will use the spyware to find out if an individual or group is involved in criminal activity. The criminals will use the software to gain access to your personal and private information, including your banking information.

Adware and Commercial spyware: This is spyware that is driven by Internet marketing. There is a huge market for information about your browsing habits. They track where you go, what interests you, anything that can be used to sell you a product. The spyware, or adware, will send information about your habits to a company that compiles and sells it. This information is a gold mine to an Internet Marketing company. Specific information about your interests. Now you know where those ads are coming from. If you are getting specific advertising in your browser or email then you have been stricken with spyware and or adware. Adware usually works hand in hand with spyware. In most cases they are two separate software packages. Some of the time, they are actually combined.

There are a wide variety of different types of spyware and adware that fall into the above categories. These are the most common forms of spyware you will see:

URL loggers and Screen Capture: This type of spyware keeps track of the websites you visit. The screen recorder will take a screen shot of the browser window when it changes URL. This information can be sent to an email address or stored for later viewing. This type of spyware is usually legitimate or “domestic” spyware.

Email and Chat loggers: This spyware will record your emails and chat sessions. A text copy of your correspondence is captured and stored in a hidden place on your computer. The stored file can be sent over email or viewed locally. Retail spyware often has this as one of the modules available.

Password loggers and Keystroke capture: This type of spyware captures every keystroke that is made on your computer. The keystrokes are stored in a text file. This file can be sent over email or opened locally. This is the most popular way to gain access to your computer and private files. Your password is captured. Key loggers can be software based or a piece of hardware. The hardware will connect to your keyboard or into the USB port. The hardware key logger is not detected by anti-spyware software and it is up to you to protect yourself against them. This type of spyware is dangerous because it contains your passwords.

Hijacking: Spyware and adware can often be used to hijack your computer. Sometimes this is done to send you to an advertiser’s web site. Other times, it is used by hackers to wreak havoc with your computer. There are different types of hijack software. Some hijack your Internet browser. More virulent spyware will hijack your whole computer. If someone hijacks your computer it can be used to send out thousands of spam emails. They can use your computer to do bad things to others.

Modem: Spyware can be used to take control of your modem and call numbers all over the world. In most cases, the person will call toll numbers that make them money. You get your phone bill and are hit with outrageous charges.

Pop-ups: Everyone has seen this type of spyware/adware. The pop-up window appears and wants you to click on an advertisement. This is actually used to install spyware and adware. A Website will use a pop-up offering you something. You input your email or information and click a button and the program then installs spyware. Hackers will even use the close application on pop-up windows to install the spyware.

These are the major types of spyware you will see on the Internet today. Remember, always protect yourself.

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