Spyware is a software program that runs silently in the background draining valuable computer system resources while monitoring the user’s activities. Without a security suite or an antispyware software program installed on a user’s computer, this security breach is difficult for a user to identify while giving hackers an electronic line of attack in hijacking personal information. Spyware applications can run in the background at boot up, slow the microprocessor with requests, and take up random access memory. Spyware may reset a startup page or redirect your search engine; it may likely produce conspicuous advertising pop-ups each time a browser loads ordinary Web pages (Coustan, n.d.).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Trojans: A Trojan horse is a malevolent program concealed as a safe software program. Trojans spread through Web downloads and e-mail and not like viruses. Trojans can disable security software to allow hackers remote access to a computer.
Adware: Software that examines and can report Internet usage pattern to hackers. Also can direct pop up ads to the users computer. Many peer-to-peer file-sharing programs come bundled with adware.
Cookies: Bits or pieces of information stored on a user’s hard drive that are used to help Web sites better cater to the interests of the Web surfer. The information is embedded in the HTML is stored as a text string and is sent between the Web servers and the users computer. Cookies are not typically harmful but allow the company’s server to recollect customized information to better serve and improve the experience of the client.
Pop-up Ad: Usually with spyware it is an advertising window that appears on top of the browser window of the Web site currently being visited.