Spyware is software that aids in gathering information about a person or
organization without their knowledge and that may send such information
to another entity without the consumer's consent, or that asserts
control over a computer without the consumer's knowledge.
"Spyware" is mostly classified into four types: system monitors,
trojans, adware, and tracking cookies. Spyware is mostly used for the
purposes such as; tracking and storing internet users' movements on the
web; serving up pop-up ads to internet users.
Whenever spyware is used for malicious purposes, its presence is
typically hidden from the user and can be difficult to detect. Some
spyware, such as keyloggers, may be installed by the owner of a shared,
corporate, or public computer intentionally in order to monitor users.
While the term spyware suggests software that monitors a user's
computing, the functions of spyware can extend beyond simple monitoring.
Spyware can collect almost any type of data, including personal
information like Internet surfing habits, user logins, and bank or
credit account information. Spyware can also interfere with user control
of a computer by installing additional software or redirecting Web
browsers. Some spyware can change computer settings, which can result in
slow Internet connection speeds, un-authorized changes in browser
settings, or changes to software settings.
Sometimes, spyware is included along with genuine software, and may come
from a malicious website. In response to the emergence of spyware, a
small industry has sprung up dealing in anti-spyware software. Running
anti-spyware software has become a widely recognized element of computer
security practices for computers, especially those running Microsoft
Windows. A number of jurisdictions have passed anti-spyware laws, which
usually target any software that is surreptitiously installed to control
a user's computer.
In German-speaking countries, spyware used or made by the government is
sometimes called govware. Govware is typically a trojan horse software
used to intercept communications from the target computer. 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.
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