Knowing the similarities and differences among the kinds of “wares” in the internet is a very good piece of information. Spyware surreptitiously monitors your computer and Internet use. Some of the worst examples of spyware include keyloggers that record keystrokes or screenshots, sending them to remote attackers who hope to glean user IDs, passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information.
Most often, though, spyware takes a more benign (but still quite offensive) form. The information gathered, often referred to as “traffic data”, can consist of monitoring the web sites visited, ads clicked, and time spent on certain sites. But even in its more benign form, the collected data can morph into something far more insidious.
Spyware tracking can link your system’s unique numerical hardware ID (MAC address) and IP address, combine it with your surfing habits and correlate it with any personal information gathered when you registered for free programs or entered data in web forms. The spyware purveyor then trades this information with affiliate advertising partners, building an increasingly complex dossier on who you are and what you like to do on the Internet. Read the fine print With your privacy at stake, you may wish to think twice about the high price of free software. We all like a good bargain, but how good is that bargain when you end up spending the majority of your online time battling popups, filtering spam, and witnessing your connection speed slow to a crawl?
Of course, there are shining examples of free software that really are free with no strings attached. Admittedly tedious, the best way to sort good from bad is to simply read the EULA or privacy statement that accompanies the intended product or site. Good sites takes a step through of a privacy statement from their own networks and helps identify potential pitfalls. Be sure to read the article to help you understand the terminology these AdWare.Win32.AdSrve.b advertisers often use to hide their malicious intent.