Spyware Threat Analysis

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Blackmore & Fajerman purpose of writing the article Sneaky software: the spyware threat and what the government is (not) doing about it, is to address the following:
• What is spyware and why is it such a problem?
• International approaches to spyware and why Australia's Spyware Bill won't become law
• Technological measures and user training are the most immediate ways to combat spyware
Summary
Spyware is a global scourge that has become increasingly widespread and malicious. A May 2005 survey by the Ponemon Institute found that 85% of frequent internet users believe that they have had spyware on their computer, and 86% of those users said that the spyware caused them a direct monetary or productivity loss. A scan of 3 million computer systems
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One example is spyware which collects information about how a user uses a software application and reports that information back to the software vendor. If the vendor does not alert the user to the fact that the software application does this, then it is spyware. Other spyware is annoying. Adware monitors a user's Internet use and occasionally displays pop-up advertisements while the user is browsing the Internet (the intent is to make the user believe that the pop-up messages are being produced by the web pages they are browsing, so that they do not realize they have adware on their computer). Many forms of spyware, however, are more malicious and can have serious effects on users and businesses. Key logging spyware, for example, transmits to the author of the spyware a log of every keystroke entered on that computer. The author can then sift through this data to find valuable information, such as credit card numbers, security codes and confidential information, from that user or their business. Other types of spyware search through the data stored on the host computer for particular types of file, which are likely to contain confidential or personal information, such as Word documents or images, and transmit them to the spyware…show more content…
Spyware may get on to a computer in a number of ways. Spyware distributors sometimes use misleading or deceptive tactics to encourage users to install spyware, for instance, by displaying a fake message asking users to install software to fix an operating system problem. Spyware may be covertly installed on a computer connected to the Internet, which is inadequately secured. Often, spyware is included as a part of a larger software package installed by the user. The license agreement provided with the software may fail to indicate that spyware will be installed along with the main program. Alternatively, the license agreement provided with the software may indicate the presence of spyware, but be presented in a small font or framed in deliberately vague and technical jargon so that most users will accept the agreement without reading and understanding
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