Madrid, August 15 2005 - Even though spyware has existed for many years, it
is only recently that it has become one of the most widespread threats among
computers connected to the Internet. One contributing factor to this situation
is that many users do not recognize the symptoms that could indicate the
presence of this type of malware.
Spyware first appeared almost at the same time as the Internet, but is now
spreading at worrying rates, and according to a recent survey by Webroot and
Earthlink is present in some 90 percent of computers.
The proliferation of spyware is largely due to the fact that information
about the browsing habits of millions of users has become a goldmine for
creators of this type of malware. Additionally, one of the objectives of spyware
creators is to infect as many computers as possible without "making much noise",
unlike -for example- worms, which spread massively via email. In this way, they
aim at preventing users from taking the necessary measures to stop spyware from
entering their computers or removing it from their systems, thus ensuring their
creations stay operating in affected computers for a long time.
The general belief is that the only effect of spyware is theft of data
related to users' web browsing habits for it to be used for advertising
purposes. However, the scenario changes radically if you consider the fact that
a great number of the phone calls received by internal Tech Support services
regarding system malfunction stems from the presence of spyware on computers. It
must be taken into account that spyware programs are actually computer
applications, and as such, they use up system resources, or can cause
incompatibilities with the software installed on computers. The most common
symptoms of presence of spyware on a system include:
- Unusual slowness of the system.
- System instability.
- Slow Internet connection.
- Reception of an unusual amount of spam or junk mail.