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Malware - Spyware

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  • Malware - Spyware

    Spyware is a kind of malware that is designed to collect and forward information regarding a victim's activities to an interested party. The defining characteristic is that the spyware acts behind the scenes to gather information without the user's consent or knowledge.
    Information gathered by spyware can be anything that the creator of the spyware feels is worthwhile. Spyware is used for targeted ads, steal identities, generate revenue, alter systems, and capture other information. It is not unheard of for spyware to open the door for later attacks that may perform tasks such as downloading software and so on.
    Spyware can be placed on the target system in a number of ways, each offering its own benefits.

    Once the spyware is installed, it stays hidden and carries out its goals.

    methods of infection include, but are not limited to, the following...

    Peer-to-peer networks (P2P)
    This delivery mechanism has become very popular because of the increased number of individuals using these networks to obtain tree pirated software.

    Instant Messaging (IM)
    Delivering malicious software such as spyware via IM is easy. IM software has never had much in the way of security controls.

    Internet Relay Chat (IRC)
    IRC is a commonly used mechanism to deliver messages and software because of the widespread use and the ability to entice new users to download software.

    E-mail attachments
    With the rise of e-mail as a common communication medium, the practice of using it to distribute malware has also risen.

    Physical access
    Once an attacker gains physical access, it becomes relatively easy to install spyware and compromise the target system.

    Browser defects
    Many users forget or, for some reason, do not choose to update the browsers they use, as soon as updates are available, so distribution of spyware becomes easier.

    Downloading software for free from unknown or untrusted sources can mean that you also download something malicious, such as spyware.

    Software is sometimes installed on a system via web browsing. When a user visits a given website, spyware may be downloaded and installed using scripting or other means. This includes drive-by-installs.
    Spyware installed in this manner is quite common, because web browsers lend themselves to this process - They are frequently unpatched, do not have upgrades applied, or are incorrectly configured. In most cases, users do not use the most basic security precautions that comes with a browser; and sometimes uses override security options to get a better browsing experience or to see fewer pop-ups or prompts.

    Software installations
    One common way to install malware such as spyware on a target system is as part of another software package. In this case, a victim downloads a piece of software that they want, but packaged with it is a payload that is silently installed in the background. The victim may or may not be told that something else is being installed, but may click through the installation wizard too quickly without reading anything that they miss the fact that additional software is being placed on their system.
    Certified Security Geek