What is spyware?
The Steve Gibson answer:
Spyware is ANY SOFTWARE which 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
Another potential problem is that many are poorly written, "contain
bugs or errors", and can cause problems with the normal operation
of your computer. If your web-browser experiences "General
Protection Faults", hangs, or freezes it may be due to one
or more of these types of programme interfering with its proper
How does that work?
1: Happy Netizen 'A' downloads what is apparently a free and useful
software utility. "Hooray and thankyou wonderful company for
providing me with these free tools to use on my computer" says
2: Netizen 'A' does the usual thing of installing the programme
that is if they are even there or anything them it pertains to the
hidden capabilities of the software.
3: When the programme is installed it also bundles in some other
extra bits from certain advertising or marketing agencies. These
are usually plugins designed for forwarding advertisements to the
software that will run when it is being used, ad revenue subsidizes
the software so that you get it for free or at a discount, so fare
enough the software makers should get something in return for their
4: Then 'A' gets bored with the software and removes it from their
computer, or just doesn't use it.....
5: Why then should 'A's computer suddenly be sending information
in the background to a web address they've never heard of before
when 'A' connects to the internet? That's right the issue is not
that things are being uploaded ie. Banner Ads to run in certain
software but that information is being sent without 'A's permission,
even when the software it came with isn't being used or has even
been removed. The nature of what information is being sent by this
sort of software is highly debated. Admittedly in most cases its
nothing to worry about, but the fact that it is diificult to remove
or stop is cause enough for concern in itself.
6. On Steve Gibsons
website you can see full examples of the types of information he
discovered was being downloaded by Spyware.
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