What Is Spyware? Spyware Explained

Spyware Explained. Spyware Defined. The History of Spyware.

So What is Spyware Exactly? Many In the computer security industry know this term all to well. Most end users of computers would probably draw a blank face when you ask them to explain what spyware really is.

The Formal Definition of Spyware is a basically any type of program, app, software, malware, or malicious software designed to overtake, hack into, infiltrate any server, or computer system without the owner or users consent. Once this virus like program is uploaded, clicked on, or downloaded, the spyware starts working right away. It is usually done covertly or running invisibly in the background of the infected computer without you even knowing it is there.

Spyware in general usually collect small bits of information based on your browsing habits, likes, locations, and general information. It is a major privacy concern within the industry and countless lawsuits have ensued due to the nature of how spyware works whether legal or illegal.

Again, malware is an expression, or a general term used by computer professionals to mean a variety of forms of hostile, intrusive, or annoying software or program code.

 Well known “computer virus” is sometimes used as a catch-all phrase to include all types of spyware, malware, cookie collection apps and the like. Many early Spyware apps would interfere with user control of the computer, either slowing down the computers performance and causing several alerts and problems on usability. Many spyware and malware programs would redirect one to others websites and browsers without the users permission not allowing the user to stop and exit out of certain windows.

Spyware almost always would change the users internal computer settings, causing the issues with usability.

Some spyware and malware applications known as keyloggers which are installed onto local, networked, shared network, corporate, or public computers on purpose for the recording of key strokes such as to steal date like passwords, bank codes, and personal data.

The History Of Spyware and the term “spyware”

The very first recorded use of the term “spyware” occurred on October 16, 1995 in a popular web based Usenet forum post that poked fun at Microsoft’s loose secure business model. Spyware was at first noted to software talk meant for espionage purposes.

However, in early 2000 the founder of Zone Labs, Gregor Freund, formaly used the term in a press release for the computer security suite ZoneAlarm Personal Firewall. Since that time, the term “spyware” has taken on its present sense and used as a common term.


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