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Spyware and other annoying Pop-ups. What are we going to learn?. What is spyware What is the threat Where does it come from Why does spyware exist How do I prevent spyware infections How do I get rid of spyware. What is Spyware?.

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what are we going to learn
What are we going to learn?
  • What is spyware
  • What is the threat
  • Where does it come from
  • Why does spyware exist
  • How do I prevent spyware infections
  • How do I get rid of spyware
what is spyware
What is Spyware?
  • Spyware originated in the 1990's with programs that secretly observed and logged your web surfing habits
  • Spyware can do more than steal your personal information. It can also rob your PC of its speeds, stability and Internet access efficiency.
what is the threat
What is the threat?
  • Spyware is now the single largest problem facing Internet users today
    • volume far outstrips spam and regular virus infections
    • Spyware usually refuses to be uninstalled through your control panel
    • covertly install themselves on your computer
    • perform secret operations without your permission
is adware the same as spyware
Is Adware the same as Spyware?
  • Adware is a subset of Spyware with a definite distinction.
  • Adware delivers specific advertising (pop-ups) on user’s computers which can be annoying when undesired.
  • Adware is generally not malicious or illegal.
  • Adware can be Spyware when it tracks browser activity and reports such activity back to some unknown recipient.
types of spyware
Types of Spyware
  • Spyware has now evolved into dozens of other malicious forms:
    • Sneakware
    • Adware
    • Keyloggers
    • Browser hijackers
what is sneakware
What is Sneakware
  • Sneakware - Uses deceptive means to sneak onto your computer.
    • Users may grant permission, but is often unaware.
    • permission is buried deep within EULA
    • vendor often tries to fool naïve users into thinking they are at risk if they don’t install it.
what is adware
What is Adware?
  • Adware - Software that gathers information about your Web-surfing habits in order to target you with pop-up advertisements for products and services that might be of interest to you.
what is a keylogger
What is a keylogger?
  • keyloggers are applications that monitor a user's keystrokes and then send this information back to the malicious user.
what are browser hijackers
What are browser hijackers?
  • Browser hijackers are malicious programs that
    • change browser settings, usually altering designated default start and search pages.
    • Some produce pop-up ads for pornography
      • add dozens of bookmarks
      • redirect users to porn websites when they mistype URLs.
spyware threat statistics
Spyware Threat Statistics
  • 80% of all PCs have been infected by spyware
  • 91% of PC users are aware of spyware
  • The average PC has 93 spyware components on it
  • 89% of infected users are unaware of the spyware found on their machines
  • 95% of infected users did not give permission for the software identified as spyware to be installed on their machines
  • 20% of calls to Dell’s helpdesk are spyware related (source: Dell)
  • Microsoft estimates that 50% of all PC crashes are a result of spyware
spyware statistics
Spyware statistics
  • Severe Threat – 15% of spyware threats send private information gathered from the end user currently logged on to the infected system: logging the user's keystrokes, logged-on user name, hash of administrator passwords, email addresses, contacts, instant messengers login and usage, and more.
  • Moderate Threat – 25% percent of spyware sends information gathered from the victim's operating system, including the computer (host) name, domain name, logs of all processes running in memory, installed programs, security applications, client's internal IP address, OS version, the existence and versions of service packs and security updates, TCP ports the spyware is listening to, Computer Security Identifier (SID) ,default browser's homepage, browser plug-ins, etc.
  • Minor Threat – 60% of spyware transmits gathered commercial-value information about the end user's browsing habits. This includes keywords used in search engines, browsing habits and ratings of frequently visited websites, shopping reports etc.
why does spyware continue
Why does Spyware continue?


how do you make money on spyware
How do you make money on Spyware?
  • iFrameDollars.biz
    • pays 55 cents per install or $55 for 1,000 unique installs of a 3KB program that "changes the homepage and installs toolbar and dialer."
    • Website owners install the code on their site and web visitors get the code installed on their computer.
how does spyware get on your pc
How does spyware get on your PC?
  • Drive-by downloading (rogue affiliates)
    • Websites use vulnerabilities in IE to install spyware without your knowledge or permission
  • Intentional Installs
how does spyware get on your pc19
How does spyware get on your PC?
  • Viruses and Trojans
    • Some viruses install spyware
  • Software Bundles
    • Legitimate freeware may install spyware or adware as a way to ‘pay the bills’.
      • P2P software is notorious for this..
        • Morpheus, Kazaa, eDonkey, Bit Torrent, etc.
    • Often times spyware is authorized by the EULA
is spyware different than viruses
Is spyware different than viruses
  • Spyware differs from viruses and worms in that it does not usually self-replicate.
  • Like many recent viruses, spyware is designed to exploit infected computers for commercial gain.
  • Spyware may have to same effect as viruses
the clues that spyware is on your computer
The clues that spyware is on your computer
  • a barrage of pop-up ads
  • a hijacked browser — that is, a browser that takes you to sites other than those you type into the address box
  • a sudden or repeated change in your computer’s Internet home page
  • new and unexpected toolbars
  • new and unexpected icons on the system tray at the bottom of your computer screen
  • keys that don’t work (for example, the “Tab” key that might not work when you try to move to the next field in a Web form)
  • random error messages
  • sluggish or downright slow performance when opening programs or saving files
how do i prevent spyware
How do I prevent spyware?
  • Visit trustworthy Web sites
  • Read user reviews, download site reviews, or analyst/press reviews (i.e. CNet, ZDnet, Tucows) on software you intend to download 
  • Before installing any software, carefully read license agreements, and privacy statements for how information is collected 
  • To close pop-ups, ignore the message and just click the Windows close "X" button
  • Run anti-spyware software to clean and block spyware in real time
  • Download and install the latest updates for your anti-spyware software and Microsoft Windows operating systems
  • Set appropriate security settings for Internet Explorer. 
  • Use a separate, non-mission-critical machine for testing downloaded software
  • Install a personal firewall to track outgoing connections before and after installing downloaded software
how do i prevent spyware23
How do I prevent spyware?
  • Don’t install "free programs," specifically file sharing programs, until you know all the software that’s bundled with it
  • Don’t click on attachments or links in emails or internet messages if you don’t know the sender or even if you know the sender, but the content is unexpected.
  • Don’t give permission to unknown software to install itself on your computer 
  • Don’t click on links or buttons on pop-up windows even a click on the "no" and "cancel" buttons can install spyware your machine
  • Don’t install non-work-related software onto your work computers
  • Save your data and backup often
how do i get rid of spyware
How do I get rid of spyware?
  • Remove your computer from the network
  • Run anti-spyware programs to identify malware
  • Uninstall / remove malware programs
  • Once you complete these steps you will most likely need to re-format and re-load the computer.
spyware legislation
Spyware Legislation
  • Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act or SPY ACT
  • Computer users have to be informed before spyware is installed
  • Clear explanation of what spyware does
  • Sitting in a the Senate pending approval