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How does Spyware get onto my PC?

Solution How the heck does it get onto my PC?

As its name suggests, spyware uses elusive techniques to slink its way onto your PC. Here are the three most common methods.

Spyware can hide inside desirable freeware and shareware programs

Next time you download a free scenic screensaver or a cute mini-game, remember that you might get more than meets the eye.

Many "free" applications come booby-trapped with ad-generating spyware. When you install the application, it also infects your PC with a spyware program. These deceptive applications don't go out of their way to advise you of the attached spyware. At best, they bury information about the spyware deep within their complex End User License Agreements (EULAs). Spyware creators know that most users don't read these lengthy legal documents.

Luckily, you won't find spyware bundled with every freeware and shareware offer. Instead, spyware tends to partner itself with legally-suspect Internet applications. For instance, spyware seems particularly fond of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) applications (best known as the kind of music-sharing programs teenagers are fond of). Many P2P programs, such as Kazaa, eDonkey, and Exeem, have come bundled with spyware.

Spyware can hide on the Web pages you browse

Most people feel relatively safe bro ws ing the Net. You shouldn't! Many areas of the Web offer about as much safety as a rickety old barn in a tornado.

You don't have to try to download something from a Web site to get infected. Spyware often hides in the code of Web pages. By taking advantage of Web browser vulnerabilities (particularly those found in IE), spyware can secretly download and install itself onto your computer without your knowledge.

Legitimate Web sites have accidentally introduced spyware to their visitors through spyware-infected banner ads. Ironically, when spyware on your PC generates pop-up ads, you can get doubly infected by new spyware in those ads!

Thankfully, most legitimate Web sites don't deal with spyware creators. You're most likely to encounter it when wandering the darker neighborhoods on the Net. Sites containing porn, illegal software, illicit product serial numbers, and online gambling present the most risk for spyware infections. But pleasant-looking sites can hide danger, too. In general, any offer on the Internet that seems too good to be true, probably is.

Spyware can hide in HTML email

Since certain types of Web sites tend to spread spyware, you can just avoid those sites, right? Not exactly. If you won't go to spyware, it'll come to you. The same people spreading spyware also have strong affiliations with junk emailers and spam. These miscreants can exploit the same vulnerabilities they use on Web pages, to deliver spyware right to your Inbox via HTML email advertisements. They send out millions of Web-based emails advertising anything from Viagra to fake Rolex watches. Just by opening one of these unsolicited HTML emails, you can unknowingly infect your PC with spyware.
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Article ID: 7
Category: Knowledgebase
Date added: 2010-10-16 18:41:07
Views: 1887
Rating (Votes): Article rated 3.1/5.0 (104)

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