RealNews

Lurking "spyware" may be a security weak spot

One in twenty computers with an internet connection may be harbouring unwanted “spyware” programs that can record a user’s computer use, generate nuisance pop-up ads and may pose a security risk, suggests a US study. So-called spyware normally piggybacks on to a computer with other “free” programs, such as some music or file-sharing software. Users may install these additional programs, which remain hidden, without realising, even though they are mentioned somewhere in the terms of agreement that appear on screen during installation. Spyware may record a user’s keystrokes or web browsing activity for market-research purposes. Or it may cause pop-up adverts to appear when a user is browsing the web. Some programs may even alter browser settings to redirect to a particular search engine. Many are difficult to remove without special software tools. Full Story

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