About Spyware

Once upon a time, altruistic programmers would make their software available as freeware. This still happens, today, but other programmers decided that they should get some reward for their efforts. Fair enough, they made their software available, asking people to pay for it if they liked it. This was called shareware.

Unfortunately, only a small percentage of users actually pay for shareware. That has led some people to look for other ways to ensure a revenue stream. Selling advertising in the software has provided one means. Call this adware.

Advertisers like to categorize people and target their ads to certain categories. Many people don't like to be categorized, and won't willingly provide information on their personal income, hobbies and the like. This has led some advertisers to collect such information surreptitiously. Some adware also collects information on what else you're doing on your computer and forwards this information back to a central server. In the old days, this would be known as a trojan horse - a program that purports to do one thing, but does another. This particular variety of trojan horse has become known as spyware.

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    page created by George Dinwiddie
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    Last modified: Tuesday 02-Dec-2003