Spy? Where?: Understanding Spyware by Benny C. Rayner on 03/01/06

Spyware is a pest no matter which way you think about it. Whether itís causing you to have numerous pop-ups or it is consuming all of your system resources; spyware is a menace to be reckoned with. I was a resident computer consultant for East Carolina University for four years, and during that time the majority of the problems encountered pertained to spyware. Some people knowingly install spyware on their computer system because they want particular software and consider it a fair trade-off (Delio, 2005). Regardless if you put spyware on your computer knowingly or unknowingly spyware should be taken seriously.

In the past viruses were computer usersí main concerns for security breaches. Spyware was around; however, it was not as widely known and was not considered being as much of a problem as viruses. Present day, spyware is beginning to lead the race of computer security concerns. A survey done from a California security company Trend Micro revealed that more than 87% of corporate end users are now familiar with the spyware and 40% has had their personal experience with spyware (Zetter, 2005).

Spyware has come to have many meanings according to Paul McFedries. It is generally defined as any program that secretively monitors a userís computer activities, particularly the typing of passwords, PINs, and credit card numbers (McFedries, 2005). Spyware also harvest sensitive data from the userís computer and then sends that information to an individual or company by the userís Internet connection. This process has become known as back channeling.

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