internet.com
You are in the: Small Business Computing Channelarrow View Sites +
Small Business Technology
» ECommerce-Guide | Small Business Computing | Webopedia | WinPlanet |  »Close
Webopedia.com
Enter a word for a definition... ...or choose a computer category.
 
 

menu
   Home
   Term of the Day
   New Terms
   Pronunciation
   New Links
   Quick Reference
   Did You Know?
   Categories
   Tech Support
   Webopedia Jobs
   About Us
   Link to Us
   Advertising
  

talk to us
   Submit a URL
   Suggest a Term
   Report an Error

internet.com
Developer
Downloads
International
Internet Lists
Internet News
Internet Resources
IT
Linux/Open Source
Personal Technology
Small Business
Windows Technology
xSP Resources
Search internet.com
Advertise
Corporate Info
Newsletters
Tech Jobs
E-mail Offers
commerce
  Be a Commerce Partner
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

spyware
Last modified: Friday, February 18, 2005 

(n.) Any software that covertly gathers user information through the user's Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet; however, it should be noted that the majority of shareware and freeware applications do not come with spyware. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Spyware can also gather information about e-mail addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers.

Spyware is similar to a Trojan horse in that users unwittingly install the product when they install something else. A common way to become a victim of spyware is to download certain peer-to-peer file swapping products that are available today.

Aside from the questions of ethics and privacy, spyware steals from the user by using the computer's memory resources and also by eating bandwidth as it sends information back to the spyware's home base via the user's Internet connection. Because spyware is using memory and system resources, the applications running in the background can lead to system crashes or general system instability.

Because spyware exists as independent executable programs, they have the ability to monitor keystrokes, scan files on the hard drive, snoop other applications, such as chat programs or word processors, install other spyware programs, read cookies, change the default home page on the Web browser, consistently relaying this information back to the spyware author who will either use it for advertising/marketing purposes or sell the information to another party.

Licensing agreements that accompany software downloads sometimes warn the user that a spyware program will be installed along with the requested software, but the licensing agreements may not always be read completely because the notice of a spyware installation is often couched in obtuse, hard-to-read legal disclaimers.

Also see The Difference Between Adware & Spyware in the Did You Know...? section of Webopedia.

E-mail this definition to a colleague

Sponsored listings

Symantec: Virus Security and Removal - Stop Zotob Virus now. Visit Symantec for updated information and resources.

Secure Instant Messaging - Secure corporate IM use and corporate networks. Protect against IM viruses. Free IM security whitepaper. Get more info online.

STOPzilla: Spyware Blocking Software - Detect and remove spyware and adware with STOPzilla's award-winning real-time protection. Also blocks pop-ups and more. Download now.


For internet.com pages about spyware . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

Inside Spyware: A Guide to Finding, Removing and Preventing Online Pests 
Online pests can range from the annoying to the downright dangerous. This Intranet Journal guide takes a step-by-step approach to diagnosing, removing and preventing spyware infestations.

PC Housekeeping: Optimize With Maintenance 
Spring cleaning isn’t just for dusty closets, and it isn’t just for spring. Do you know what to do to keep your PC running at peak performance? Why not learn?

Spychecker
Lists almost one thousand spyware products by name.

The Big Lie about Spyware and Adware
'Spyware' and 'adware' aren't always synonymous. The difference is important for affiliates to understand.

Sponsored listings

Spy Sweeper: Advanced Spyware Protection and Removal - Award-winning spyware protection software. Keeps personal info and corporate assets safe from online and internal threats. Download a free scan now.

related categories

Ethics

Security

Software

related terms

adware

freeware

malware

shareware

Trojan horse

Web beacon


webopedia
Give Us Your
Feedback


Shopping
spyware Products
Compare Products,Prices and Stores

Shop by Category:
Software
717 Model Matches

Miscellaneous
2 Store Offers

Computers Miscellaneous
8 Store Offers



JupiterWeb networks:

internet.comearthweb.comDevx.com graphics.com

Search JupiterWeb:

Jupitermedia Corporation has three divisions:
Jupiterimages, JupiterWeb and JupiterResearch


Legal Notices, Licensing, Reprints, & Permissions, Privacy Policy.

Jupitermedia Corporate Info | Newsletters | Tech Jobs | Shopping | E-mail Offers