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pradeep 1Aug2005 10:44

Difference Between Adware & Spyware
 
Adware

Adware is any computer program or software package in which advertisements or other marketing material are included with or automatically loaded by the software and displayed or played back after installation.

The justification for adware is that it helps recover programming development cost and helps to hold down the cost for the user.

Adware is considered an alternative offered to consumers who do not wish to pay for freeware blocks features and functions of the software until you pay to register it. Programs, games or utilities can be designed and distributed as freeware. Sometimes generally most or all features of the freeware are enabled but you will be viewing sponsored advertisements while the software is being used. The advertisements usually run in a small section of the software interface or as a pop-up ad box on your desktop. When you stop running the software, the ads should disappear. This allows consumers to try the software before they buy and you always have the option of disabling the ads by purchasing a registration key.

A perfect example of this would be the popular e-mail program, Eudora. You can choose to purchase Eudora or run the software in sponsored mode. In sponsored mode Eudora will display an ad window in the program and up to three sponsored toolbar links. Eudora adware is not malicious; it reportedly doesn\'t track your habits or provide information about you to a third party. This type of adware is simply serving up random paid ads within the program. When you quit the program the ads will stop running on your system.

Spyware

Spyware refers to software that performs certain tasks on your computer, typically without your consent. This may include giving you advertising or collecting personal information about you

Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Spyware can also gather information about e-mail addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers.

Spyware is considered a malicious program and is similar to a Trojan Horse in that users unwittingly install the product when they install something else.

Spyware works like adware but is usually a separate program that is installed unknowingly when you install another freeware type program or application. Once installed, the spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Spyware can also gather information about e-mail addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers.

Because spyware exists as independent executable programs, they have the capability to monitor your keystrokes, scan files on the hard drive, snoop other applications, such as chat programs or word processors, install other spyware programs, read cookies, change the default home page on the Web browser, while consistently relaying this information back to the spyware author who will either use it for advertising and marketing purposes or sell the information to another party.

Licensing agreements that accompany software downloads sometimes warn the user that a spyware program will be installed along with the requested software, but the licensing agreements are not always be read completely by users because the notice of a spyware installation is often couched in obtuse, hard-to-read legal disclaimers.

Aside from the questions of ethics and privacy, spyware steals from the user by using the computer\'s memory resources and also by eating bandwidth as it sends information back to the spyware\'s home base via the user\'s Internet connection. Because spyware is using memory and system resources, the applications running in the background can lead to system crashes or general system instability

If you notice any changes to your Web browser such as extra toolbars or different homepage settings, as well as changes to your security settings and favorites list, you could have spyware running on your system. Other signs of a spyware infection include pop-up ads which aren\'t related to a Web site you\'re viewing.

It is important to remember that not all companies who claim their software contains adware are really offering adware. There is always a chance that adware is spyware.

Anti-spyware software is crucial to maintain optimal protection and security on your computer and network. Anti-spyware software works by identifying any spyware installed on your system and removing it. Since spyware is installed like any other application on your system it will leave traces of itself in the system registry and in other places on your computer. Anti-spyware software will look for evidence of these files and delete them if found.

Some Anti-spyware Softwares are:

SpyBot Search & Destroy
Microsoft Anti-spyware (Beta)
Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware


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