RE: Adware, spyware, and trojans

From: Garbrecht, Frederick (FGarbrecht@ecogchair.org)
Date: 12/06/02

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    From: "Garbrecht, Frederick" <FGarbrecht@ecogchair.org>
    To: "'Carere, Courtney'" <CCarere@rich.com>, "'security-basics@securityfocus.com'" <security-basics@securityfocus.com>
    Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 13:18:31 -0500 
    
    

    Courtney,

    You have a misconception about what spyware is. In contrast to software
    which logs keystrokes, etc. (which would be classified as keylogging
    software), spyware is software that is designed to return information about
    your websurfing habits to a central server somewhere. Spyware is often
    packaged with some other piece of software, ofter 'freeware' or shareware,
    and its installation is often (but not always) disclosed in the license
    agreement that comes with the primary software. The usual purveyors of
    spyware are marketing firms who want to collect information about websurfing
    habits and online purchase behavior. None of the spyware that I am aware of
    actually performs any type of keylogging activity per se, but there are
    clear and significant privacy issues associated with it, and in some cases,
    the spyware application(s) have been associated with instability of the
    underlying OS. In addition, they can really clog up your LAN bandwidth.

    The best known spyware removal software is called 'Ad-aware' from Lavasoft
    (you should be able to google for them). The software is free, and they
    also provide a free updating utility to make sure you have the most recent
    spyware signature files.

    Fred

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Carere, Courtney [mailto:CCarere@rich.com]
    Sent: Friday, December 06, 2002 11:49 AM
    To: 'security-basics@securityfocus.com'
    Subject: Adware, spyware, and trojans

     
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    Upon reading "The Art of Deception" by Kevin Mitnick yesterday (an
    excellent book, by the way), he writes that most antivirus software
    does not detect spyware, which was a shock to me. Spyware seems to
    be defined as software that logs keystrokes, screenshots, user
    actions, etc. I have a couple of questions:

    1. What's the distinction between spyware, adware, and trojan
    software? (My antivirus software says it protects against Trojans,
    and I've seen programs like SubSeven in its log files.)

    2. Is there any good software that detects and removes spyware,
    ideally controlled and updated continuously from a central server?

    Thanks!

    - - Courtney Carere

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