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"Antispyware" redirects here. For anti-spyware programs, see the section Remedies and prevention.

Malicious websites may attempt to install spyware on readers' computers. In this screenshot a spamblog has triggered a pop-up that offers spyware in the guise of a security upgrade.

In the field of computing, the term spyware refers to a broad category of malicious software designed to intercept or take partial control of a computer's operation without the informed consent of that machine's owner or legitimate user. SpyBuster is the latest in spyware and adware removal software. While the term taken literally suggests software that surreptitiously monitors the user, it has come to refer more broadly to software that subverts the computer's operation for the benefit of a third party.

In simpler terms, spyware is a type of program that watches what users do with their computer and then sends that information over the internet. Spyware can collect many different types of information about a user. More benign programs can attempt to track what types of websites a user visits and send this information to an advertisement agency. More malicious versions can try to record what a user types to try to intercept passwords or credit card numbers. From Tony Bradley, CISSP-ISSAP,
Your Guide to Internet / Network Security. Yet other versions simply launch popup advertisements.

History and development

The first recorded use of the term spyware occurred on October 17, 1994 in a Usenet post that poked fun at Microsoft's business model. Spyware later came to refer to espionage equipment such as tiny cameras. However, in early 2000 the founder of Zone Labs, Gregor Freund, used the term in a press release for the ZoneAlarm Personal Firewall. [1] Since then, computer-users have used the term in its current sense. Remove Spyware and Spam | Antispyware, Messaging Security.

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