Annoying Adware-Many programs monitor activity, hut when does that become a breach of privacy? Cookies retain personal informationusernames, passwords, preferences-so that websites can improve user experience. But some cookies share tracking data with third parties that deliver pop-ups and banner ads; those installed without user consent are called adware cookies. And then there are programs like WeatherBug and SurfSideKick that display sponsor ads while they run. Such adware programs may or may not obtain consent to track and share personal data through end user license agreements-which most users simply accept without reading.
* Nebulous NonBizWare-Many workers install non-business software on corporate PCs. from IM and softphones to multi-user games and peer-to-peer tile sharing. Beyond reducing productivity. NonBizWare establishes communication "back channels" that could be exploited to penetrate or attack a corporate network.
NonBizWare may also expose employers to legal liability associated with distribution of copyrighted music, pirated software and pornographic material. Therefore, even though NonBizWare may not "spy" on users, many anti spyware solutions treat these potentially-unwanted programs as another form of spyware.
* Menacing Malware-A growing percentage of spyware is malicious software intended to damage a computer, steal data, or create an attack platform. For example, browser hijackers like CoolWebSearch_xplugin change home pages, redirect Web searches, and misdirect URLs to phishing pages and pay-to-play search engines. Keyloggers like SpyBuddy record document edits, email, instant messages, chat room conversations and Web form responses by relaying user keystrokes to remote attackers. Botnets use worms or trojans to plant drones like SoberQ that listen for IRC commands instructing them to relay spam or join DDoS attacks. Trojan downloaders like Zlob and W start hide in attachments and downloads, opening back doors through which other programs can be remotely installed. Rootkits like NTRootKit are trojans that operate as hidden system files, letting attackers gain unrestricted access to a "rooted" computer. And the list goes on. Continued