Espionage on the internet: Spyware & Adware

Seminararbeit, 2008

10 Seiten, Note: 1,3

Frank Frei (Autor:in)


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Comparison: Spyware versus Adware

3. Identification
3.1 Functions of Spyware and Adware
3.2 Signs of an infection with Spyware

4. Protection
4.1 General advices
4.2 Professional tools
4.3 Fake anti espionage programs

5. Personal opinion on Spyware & Adware

6. Results
6.1 Résumé of my topic
6.2 Personal results of the whole team project


1. Introduction

In 2005 America Online (AOL) and the National Cyber-Security Alliance (NCSA) published the results of a study about online safety. 61% of the asked persons know that they had at least once spyware or adware on their PC. 92% of these people who had at least once problems with spyware or adware answered, that they had not given the permission of installing this kind of software.1 I have chosen this topic, because I wanted to learn more about this actual topic, especially how I can better identify and protect myself against spyware & adware. I am also interested in finding out, what this spyware & Adware is doing on the PC without my knowledge. For this question I want to find an answer in this executive summary. The next points of this executive summary will at first be about basic information about spyware in comparison with adware and then how a PC user can identify and protect against this kind of software. After this I will give my personal opinion on spy- and adware.

2. Comparison: Spyware versus Adware

The following table should give an overview about the main differences and similarities of spy- and adware.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

3. Identification

3.1 Functions of Spyware and Adware

The functions of spyware are very different. Normally the spyware program starts in the background when the computer is started. Then most Spyware record your online activities like which internet sites you have visited and when, what you have done on this pages or what you are searching in search engines. Other Spyware also record the configuration of your hardware or which other software you are currently using.

But what happens with the information the spyware program collects? The producer of this Software get this information via internet connection (often without the knowledge of the person who is observed) and this software producer mostly sells this information to advertising companies, which create for example user profiles with this data and offer this person targeted advertisements and products via Mail, telephone, post or the spyware opens additional advertisement Popups on your desktop. But a change of your start or search page in your browser is also possible (often not easy to undo this change) as another function of spyware. Another possibility is that spyware generates additional favorite pages in your favorite file (which sometimes can not be removed without professional anti spyware programs).8

Adware has the main function that the person who uses adware supported software sees these ads and buys the products. The ads were mainly shown as banners, pop up windows, in screensavers, or as “searching help”.The implementation of Adware in a program generates income for the software developer and enables that software can often offered as freeware. But Adware can also be Spyware. It records the users online habits and than shows you purposeful advertisements which match with your interests. These purposeful ads were then shown in the adware supported software or as pop up windows when you start your internet browser or specific internet sites.9

The free version of the email client Incredimail is a harmless and legal example for a program which contains adware and also spyware functions. In the terms and conditions you can read the following: “IncrediMail may gather information related generally to Users' use of the Software, Service, and Site including without limitation:
The number of Messages that a User sends; The number of Messages that are read; What elements of the Service are most often used; User log-in dates and time; and Message size data.”

3.2 Signs of an infection with Spyware

If you have on many occasions problems with the following points you should consider to use a professional anti espionage program (about which I will talk about later in detail), because it may be that you have spyware or adware with spyware functions on your PC.

1. The PC is working very slow (it takes a long time for opening applications or internet sites); could happen because the spyware programs work in the background
2. Your browser opens very often incoherent advertising pop ups while surfing.
3. Your start page has been changed without your knowledge or suddenly there are additional favorite links in your favorite file which can not deleted.
4. Your firewall reports that Unknown programs want to connect to the internet.

4. Protection

4.1 General advices

The following points are absolute necessary if you want to ensure that you protect against spy- and adware:

- Using an anti virus program (often with anti adware and anti spyware features).
- Using a firewall so most spyware can´t connect to the internet without permission.
- Read the license agreement carefully (often in a very small type size you can read that the software contains spy- or adware).
- Don´t agree on installing ActiveX elements you don´t trust or don´t know.
- Use and update regular professional anti espionage programs.11

4.2 Professional tools

Many serious and good tools exist to remove spy- and adware. I want to present the famous and freeware tool “Ad-Aware”. Ad-Aware was developed by lavasoft and is currently available in Version This tool is very easy to use. After installing the software you have to update the “Spy- and Adware Definitions” which contain a list of the most espionage programs known up to that date. Lavasoft updates his “Spyware- and Adware Definitions” usually several times a week. Then you have to choose the button “Scan now” and select a scan mode (depends on how fast and completely the system scan should be done). Recommended is a full system scan. If Ad-aware identifies spy- or adware on your PC it can delete it or put this into quarantine. Putting into quarantine means that the spy- or adware will not deleted but can not start or execute something anymore. Lavasoft has invented this function because it exists software that only works if you allow to install the spy- or adware, too. It is recommended that you use Ad-Aware once a week (you can also configure that it will be done automatically for example each Friday on 18 o clock.) Before each full system scan you should update the “definitions”. The status button shows you if your definitions are up do date, when you did your last scan, how many objects in total were removed and in your quarantine box and much more.12


1 cf. America Online & The National Cyber Security Alliance. 2005 (05.January 2008; 20:32h)

2 cf. (05.January 2008; 20:39h)

3 cf.,,sid44_gci521293,00.html (05.January 2008; 20:45h)

4 cf. (05.January 2008; 20:45h)

5 cf. (05.January 2008; 20:48h)

6 cf. (05.January 2008; 20:53h)

7 cf. (05.January 2008; 20:55h)

8 cf. (06.January 2008; 03:21h)

9 cf. (07.January 2008; 18:22h)

10 quotation from: (07.January 2008; 18:29h)

11 cf. (0.January 2008; 19:21h)

12 cf.

Ende der Leseprobe aus 10 Seiten


Espionage on the internet: Spyware & Adware
Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin
Business Information systems
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
556 KB
spyware, adware, espionage internet, online security, firewall, spybot, virus, internet security, worm, spyware and adware, adaware, pc worm, anti espionage program, espionage program, espionage, antivirus, computerviren, datenklau
Arbeit zitieren
Frank Frei (Autor:in), 2008, Espionage on the internet: Spyware & Adware, München, GRIN Verlag,


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