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Beginners Guides: Spyware Protection and Removal

Beginners Guides: Spyware Protection and Removal - PCSTATS
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Abstract: The most common definition of Spyware is a program that sends information from your computer to another destination on the Internet without your knowledge.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Jul 30 2007   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Beginners Guides: Spyware Protection and Removal
I spy with my little eye... IP 206.34.256.70 reading this page right now, so learn how to protect, and remove software that keeps tabs on you. - Version 1.2.0

Bookmark this PCSTATS guide for future reference.

Fresh from penning our Firewall and Virus Alert article, PCSTATS would like to present the second part of our beginners guide to the less savoury aspects of the internet experience; dealing with the subject of "Spyware." If you've installed a peer-to-peer sharing program such as 'Kazaa Media Desktop' or 'Morpheus', or accidentally said yes to a 'Gator' pop-up, or gone on an excursion to some of the darker corners of the Internet, chances are your PC has developed an internet life of its own through one or more spyware applications.

What is Spyware?

While the actual definition of what constitutes Spyware is somewhat vague, there are a few distinguishing points that are generally agreed on. The most common definition of Spyware is a program that sends information from your computer to another destination on the Internet without your knowledge and without your explicit consent. The information can potentially include just about anything stored on, or accessible by your computer. In reality, most spyware programs limit themselves to sending specific types of demographic information, such as the URLs you visit on the Internet, IP and email addresses, or even something as mundane as a cookie.

The potential of these kinds of programs is rather frightening though. On a modern Windows XP based computer, any program installed by a system administrator (that is, any of the users created during the install process, as well as the built in administrator account) has access to all files on the system. This allows all sorts of mischief to be committed with your implied permission.

Permission really is at the heart of the issue when it comes to spyware, since to separate themselves from the makers of viruses and 'trojan horse' programs, creators of spyware need your okay to install their products on your system. Of course, standard operating procedure is to make this request as obscure as possible, so as to insure a large installed base of users.

Some software uses a cerificate window request to attempt to gain your permission, as seen most famously with the Gator Corporation, whose ubiquitous ads are launched by any number of sponsored web-sites and software installation packages. If you click "ok" to the request, the Gator software will be installed on your computer.

Others, as is commonly seen with spyware packages included along with common file sharing applications like Kazaa Media Desktop, use passages in the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) to gain your acceptance.

Since these legal agreements are rarely read by computer users and can be torturously worded, they are an easy vector for spyware to be installed as a component of a popular freeware programs.

Once installed, spyware software can easily send any required information out to the Internet using the system's current connection. Such transactions occur in the background and are difficult to notice or trace, since most firewall hardware and software, including Windows XP's built in firewall, does not interfere with information going out of the protected computer or network.

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Please respect the time and effort that went into creating each PCSTATS Beginners Guide, do not illegally copy. Thank you.
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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  — Beginners Guides: Spyware Protection and Removal
 Pg 2.  Transmitting Information
 Pg 3.  Spyware Vs. Ad-supported software
 Pg 4.  Varieties of Spyware
 Pg 5.  Setting Activex Controls
 Pg 6.  Spyware removal utilities
 Pg 7.  More removal utilities
 Pg 8.  Other Resources to Turn to

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