Background of Spyware
* 16 October 1995, the word “spyware” was used for the first time in public. It come-out on Usenet, in an article for the purpose of Microsoft’s business model. Spyware at first was used for espionage purposes.
* The founder of Zone Labs, Gregor Freund, used the term of “spyware” in a press release for the ZoneAlarm Personal Firewall in early 2000. Since then, the term has been used until now.
* In early 2001, advertising software had been installed on Steve Gibson system, and he suspected it was stealing his personal data. After investigated, he determined that it was adware from the companies Conducent and Aureate (now Radiate). Gibson developed and released the first anti-spyware program, which is OptOut.
* In 2005 according to a study by National Cyber-Security Alliance and AOL ,61% of surveyed found that users had some form of spyware. 92% of surveyed users with spyware reported that they did not know of its existence, and 91% reported that they had not given permission for the installation of the spyware.
* Spyware has become the excellent security threats to computer systems running Microsoft Windows operating systems in 2006. In an estimate based on customer-sent scan logs, Webroot Software (developer of Spy Sweeper) has said that 9 out of 10 computers which connected to the Internet are certainly infected.
* Internet Explorer (IE) is the primary browser are notably vulnerable to such attacks not because Internet Explorer is the most universally-used, but because of its strong integration with Windows and allows spyware access to important parts of the operating system.
Spyware is any structure of even business or malicious code or commercial code that save data about users without their knowledge or approval. Spyware can be fully malicious when it seeks to gain data to commit credential hijacking or identity theft. However, a lot advertising companies use less-malicious forms of spyware to collect demographic about possible customers. In either situation, the user is usually unaware that the spyware tool is present that is periodically transmitted back to some outside entity. Spyware can collect local files, keystrokes, names of launched applications, sent or received emails and instant messages (IMs), URLs visited, it also can record video by turning on a webcam or even record audio by turning on the microphone. Spyware can be deposited by worms, viruses or Trojan horses, or it can be installed as an extra element from freeware, commercial, or shareware applications. Countermeasures for spyware are the same as for viruses, with the addition of specific spyware-scanning tools.
How Spyware Attack ?
* Firstly, Spyware will be downloaded covertly along with software that you have chosen to install for example video or music file-sharing program. And usually it piggybacks on free software. This problem happen because we influence to accept end-user agreements without reading the condition which is where notifications of user tracking and advertise delivery tend to be placed.
* Second, while surfing the internet you can also negligently pick up spyware. And you might be persuaded to click on a pop-up window which offering you a prize or insistence you to download essential software but actually you will be opening the door to spyware.
* Lastly, instant messages or emails and social media messages may contain links to spyware. Spyware can also be picked up via drive-by download, where solely viewing a compromised email or website can cause a spyware download.
How to trace Spyware ?
The signs of spyware infection :
– Your default home page has changed.
– Your browser redirects to unwelcome sites.
– Your security software doesn’t run properly.
– Your computer starts to run slowly, freeze or crash.
– Pop-up ads start appearing regularly
1) CompTIA Security+ REVIEW GUIDE,J.M. James Michael Stewart,2004.
2) Security For Mobile Networks and Platforms,S.A. Selim Aissi, N.D.Nora Dabbous, A.R.P.Anand R. Prasad,2006.