Thomas F. Stafford (University of Memphis, USA)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-987-8.ch090
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There is a potent threat to computer security represented by the emerging class of applications commonly known as “spyware,” designed to remotely monitor and report on user activity. The threat manifests itself indirectly, unlike hacker intrusions and many virus infections. These remote monitoring applications record and transmit information on computer user behaviors to third parties, who then utilize monitored customer data for marketing segmentation and targeting, or for more nefarious violations of user computer security. Most spyware is legal, having typically been installed during free software downloads online. Some spyware is illegal, having been remotely installed by bots on visited Web sites, and can remotely monitor for illegitimate purposes such as keystroke logging and password theft and account access. Spyware is often defended by its sponsors as a means of more effectively targeting the Internet experience to users, but users typically find the costs of this purportedly customer-centric monitoring process objectionable in terms of subsequent advertising distraction and system resource monopolization.

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