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Spyware Definitions

by Enrique De Argaez, webmaster


Adware is advertising-supported software that displays pop-up advertisements whenever the program is running. The software is usually available via free download from the Internet, and it is the advertisements that create revenue for the company. Although seemingly harmless (aside from intrusiveness and annoyance of pop-up ads), adware can install components onto your computer that track personal information (including your age, gender, location, buying preferences, surfing habits, etc.). Most advertising supported software doesn't inform you that it installs adware on your system, other than via buried reference in a license agreement. In many cases the software will not function without the adware component. Some Adware can install itself on your computer even if you decline the offer.

System Monitoring Software:

System monitors are applications designed to monitor computer activity to various degrees. These programs can capture virtually everything you do on your computer including recording all keystrokes, emails, chat room dialogue, web sites visited, and programs run. System monitors usually run in the background so that you do not know that you are being monitored. The information gathered by the system monitor is stored on your computer in an encrypted log file for later retrieval. Some programs are capable of emailing the log files to another location. Traditionally, system monitors had to be installed by someone with administrative access to your computer, such as a system administrator or someone that shares your computer. However, there has been a recent wave of system monitoring tools disguised as email attachments or "freeware" software products. Some are programs that display ads on your PC according to what you are searching for - a violation to your privacy.

Trojan Horses:

Trojans Horses or Trojans are malicious programs that appear as harmless or even desirable applications. Trojans are designed to cause loss or theft of computer data, and to destroy your system. Some Trojans, called RATs (Remote Administration Tools), allow an attacker to gain unrestricted access of your computer whenever you are online. The attacker can perform activities such as file transfers, adding/deleting files or programs, and controlling the mouse and keyboard. Trojans are generally distributed as email attachments or bundled with another software program. They are dangerous Hijackers on many occasions and you can catch one just by visiting a bad web site and innocently clicking on an evil link.


There are many other suspicious and/or annoying programs that can find their way onto your computer without your express knowledge. These programs often come bundled with third-party programs or can be installed as “drive-by downloads.” Some of these programs have spyware capabilities, while others may serve as an annoyance or negatively affect your system resources. There are many terms for these types of programs including scumware, annoyanceware, parasites, malware, etc.

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About the Author:
Enrique de Argaez is the webmaster of several multilingual Internet websites and author of four newsletters. He is active in Internet market research, and Internet marketing. Visit his English web site at .

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