Essay on Spyware:
Any software that covertly gathers user information through the user’s Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for delivering of unsolicited pop-up advertisements,
Stealing of personal information (including financial information such as credit card numbers, Bank account numbers), monitoring of Web-browsing activity for marketing purposes.
The first recorded use of the term spyware occurred on 16 October 1995 in a Usenet post that poked fun at Microsoft’s business model.
The main method of attacking is via internet explorer with windows platform because of its popularity.
By their various functions spyware can be classified into four types: System monitors, trojans, adware and tracking cookies.
Major Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet.
Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to some another entity.
The difference between spyware and virus/worm is spyware does not transmit from computer to computer or self-replicate but will only install in a targeted computer and exploiting system vulnerabilities.
Aside from the questions of ethics and privacy, spyware steals the data from the user by using the computer’s memory resources and also by utilizing 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 which decreases computer’s performance.
Since spyware exists as independent executable programs, they have the ability to monitor keystrokes, scan files on the hard drive, and 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.
Other than disadvantages some usefulness of spyware is, it can track the users movement in public computer and targeted advertisements can be achieved.
Spyware may also enter computer like a Trojan horse while installing useful media software like DivX. So To prevent from spyware Whenever you install something on your computer, make sure you carefully read all disclosures, including the license agreement and privacy statement. Sometimes the inclusion of unwanted software in a given software installation is documented, but it might appear at the end of a license agreement or privacy statement which will be often couched in obtuse, hard-to-read legal disclaimers.
Spyware used or made by the government in German-speaking countries, is sometimes called as govware. Govware is typically a trojan horse software.
Some countries like Switzerland and Germany have a legal framework governing the use of such software. In the US the term policeware has been used for similar purposes.
To remove this spyware there are some anti-spyware softwares like Symantec, PC Tools, McAfee and Sophos are available in the market.