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Thread: What is Adware and Spyware?

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    Head Honcho Administrator Reverend's Avatar
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    Apr 2002

    What is Adware and Spyware?

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


    Adware or advertising-supported software is any software application in which advertisements are displayed while the program is running. These applications include additional code that displays the ads in pop-up windows or through a bar that appears on a computer screen. Adware helps recover programming development costs, and helps to hold down the price of the application for the user (even making it free of charge)—and, of course, it can give programmers a profit, which helps to motivate them to write, maintain, and upgrade valuable software.

    Some adware is also shareware, as such it may be used as term of distinction used to differentiate between types of shareware software. What differentiates adware from other shareware is that it is primarily advertising supported. Users may also be given the option to pay for a "registered" or "licensed" copy, which typically does away with the advertisements. Other types of shareware include demoware, nagware, crippleware, freeware, and even spyware.


    Strictly defined, spyware consists of computer software that gathers and reports information about a computer user without the user's knowledge or consent.

    These products perform many different functions, including the delivery of unrequested advertising (pop-up ads in particular), harvesting private information, re-routing page requests to illegally claim commercial site referral fees, and installing stealth phone dialers.

    Data collecting programs installed with the user's knowledge do not, technically speaking, constitute spyware, provided the user fully understands what data they collect and with whom they share it. However, a growing number of legitimate software titles install secondary programs to collect data or distribute advertisement content without properly informing the user about the real nature of those programs. These barnacles can drastically impair system performance, and frequently abuse network resources. In addition to slowing down throughput, they are often have design features making them difficult or impossible to remove from the system.
    Last edited by Reverend; February 5th, 2005 at 15:07 PM.

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