Just like the word “virus”, spyware is a word that is frequently used to refer to malicious software, including – yes, spyware – adware, snoopware, among many other types of such software. How exactly does spyware affect you? Keep reading to find out!
Spyware, just like Trojans, can spy on whatever you do on your computer, and transmit this data to a third party over the internet. Very often, spyware is written with commercial intents – companies want to see your web browsing habits or usage in order to serve more customized ads or improve its marketing data.
Adware is an extension of such commercial interests. By spying on your web habits and such, adware presents you with a huge magnitude of ads and popups that are now “customized” just for you. In many situations, adware comes with legitimate software. This includes web browser toolbars, and other programs that specifically state the installation of this software within the Terms and Conditions I’m sure you all read very carefully.
Snoopware keeps everything you do under close watch. Some legitimate examples of snoopware include parental control software, and software employers install to make sure you’re not wasting time on unnecessary websites. Obviously spyware can be used for more illegitimate things such as stealing information and tracking people.
Another type of spyware is a key logger. A key logger keeps track of everything you’ve typed and stores it locally. It then sends all of this collected data back to some stranger to analyze, meaning that you can potentially lose credit card numbers and other confidential information. Trojans frequently install such key loggers and then provide other third parties with access to these logged files to analyze the captured data.