Browse Definitions:
Reference

What is spyware?

Learning Guide Table of Contents:

What is spyware?
Why spyware isn't just a home-user problem
How spyware gets in your computer
How you can prevent spyware
How you can clean up spyware

What is spyware?

In general, spyware is any technology that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge. Internet advertising (adware) has been criticized for sometimes including code that tracks a user's personal information and passes it on to third parties without the user's authorization or knowledge. This practice has been dubbed spyware and has prompted an outcry from computer security and privacy advocates, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Noted privacy software expert Steve Gibson of Gibson Research explains: "Spyware is any software that employs a user's Internet connection in the background (the so-called 'backchannel') without their knowledge or explicit permission. Silent background use of an Internet 'backchannel' connection must be preceded by a complete and truthful disclosure of proposed backchannel usage, followed by the receipt of explicit, informed consent for such use. Any software communicating across the Internet absent of these elements is guilty of information theft and is properly and rightfully termed: Spyware."

Spyware doesn't actually attempt to "take over" your computer, but it does try to do certain things you probably won't like. Here are some common signs that you have been infected:

  • Your PC is running unusually slow.

  • Ads are popping up even when your browser isn't running.

  • Your home page has been hijacked.

  • Antispyware and/or antivirus applications aren't working correctly. Some spyware programs will sabotage the programs designed to detect and eliminate them.

  • There's been a dramatic increase in your network's traffic, eating up bandwidth and crippling performance.

Read our complete definition.
Whatis.com has a definition of spyware.

Top ten spyware threats
This list describes the ten spyware threats most frequently identified by Webroot's Spy Audit.

Spyware Guide
Spyware guide has an extensive list of software that has been identified as spyware.

Spyware/Adware/Trojans
More resources about spyware, adware and Trojans from TechTarget.

Spyware legislation sparks concern
This installment in a two-part series examines legislative effectiveness in handling spyware.

Fight spyware
A whole new category of software has exploded into life lately, with intentions that are far from honorable. These programs, called adbots, media plug-ins, backdoor Santas or Trojans, are known collectively as spyware.

Page 1 2 3 4 5

This was last updated in March 2011

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • black hat

    Black hat refers to a hacker who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent.

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

  • keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

    A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and ...

SearchHealthIT

  • population health management (PHM)

    Population health management (PHM) is a discipline within the healthcare industry that studies and facilitates care delivery ...

  • ICD-10-PCS

    The International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-PCS) is a U.S. cataloging system for...

  • U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM)

    The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the largest biomedical library in the world.

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • open source storage

    Open source storage is data storage software developed in a public, collaborative manner that permits the free use, distribution ...

  • CompactFlash card (CF card)

    A CompactFlash card (CF card) is a memory card format developed by SanDisk in 1994 that uses flash memory technology to store ...

  • email archiving

    Email archiving (also spelled e-mail archiving) is a systematic approach to saving and protecting the data contained in email ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close