As part of my quest to carry out research which will better inform and protect business owners and consumers from the many dangers posed by spyware, I’ve decided to put together this article outlining 10 of the most significant threats out there today.
Spyware is not something to fool around with. It has cost companies and individuals millions of dollars, and continues to cost millions of dollars, each year. Hackers can use spyware to monitor your surfing habits, steal confidential finance data, to create popup ads or to just make a complete nuisance. It’s for this reason why it’s important you know your enemy.
Below is a list of 10 of the most significant spyware threats based on potential impact, prevalence and detection, so enjoy:
Gator is installed by the end user, originally as a password vault. The purpose of such programs is to provide an easy convenient way to store and use passwords when visiting website. The main issue with this tool is that the end user must enjoy endless popups whenever visiting a website. Over time, there has been some clean-up in this area, but it’s still very annoying, and thus, something you should look out for, in the event you decide to invest in this product.
Virtumonde is known to display very annoying popups on your computer. It works by propagating itself through dialog boxes, java script errors and social engineering techniques. So definitely have your heads up about this one.
Look2Me works by monitoring your surf activity and then sending this information back to a centralised server. Once you install Look2Me on your computer, it will install other pieces of spyware programs. Look2Me is a very difficult program to remove because of how it’s able to embed itself into your operating system, propagating itself through various techniques, like Java script errors and dialog boxes.
This is without a doubt, the most notorious browser hijacker out there. This is just one of the many names that this program is known by, all of which are known to do the same thing, which is redirect its victims to either datanotary.com or coolwebsearch.com. Removing this program tends to be very difficult. End users should never attempt to manually remove this program – seek help, if you’re not an experienced user.
Web Search Toolbar
The web search toolbar is known to hijack web browser settings while you are surfing the internet (on your browser) and install itself as a toolbar. This toolbar will monitor the websites that you visit, why displaying random popup advertisements.
This is definitely one of the most unpleasant pieces of software out there. Huntbar installs itself onto Windows explorer and Internet explorer. The first thing it does is change your home page and search settings, to point to their servers. If you attempt to use another search engine, the tool bar will redirect you back to their one. In addition to that, it’s also known to consume considerable system resources.
ShopAtHomeSelect works by redirecting end users to merchant websites through their very own servers. This is done to increase commissions through affiliate links.
EliteBar is known to hijack any of the following: home page, web search, web browser settings. It propagates itself through the use of dialog boxes, which would ordinarily appear innocent. Java script errors and social engineering are other methods used to propagate this tool, and it’s known to come bundled with other free software programs.
This tool bar will display tons of unsolicited ads on your screen. It will also monitor your internet traffic, collecting your search profiles, and is capable of being run remotely. Certain searches made by the end user are capable of triggering special coupons, offers and other content ads.
Bargain Buddy was very popular at one point, used literally everywhere. It’s created by BullzEye network, and it works by setting up a Browser Helper Object (BHO) and monitoring your system usage. Once it has acquired enough information, it then uses such data to send you tons of ads.