what is spyware Was: alexa - google toolbar behaviour

From: Alexander Klimov (alserkli_at_inbox.ru)
Date: 07/19/05

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    Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2005 11:08:56 +0300 (IDT)


    On Fri, 15 Jul 2005, Mehmet Buyukozer wrote:
    > It might not be in spyware category but what makes a software
    > spyware? It will send information to you and your activities on the
    > net right? So what makes google toolbar different in this
    > perspective?

    Hmm, I don't like this definition because by this definition every
    net-related program is spyware: your browser obviously sends
    information away, your mail client, ICQ, well, even ssh usully sends
    information (to the DNS server) about the host you are trying to
    connect to.

    I guess that something is a spyware if:
    1) its main goal is to collect imformation;
    2) during the installation you was not clearly notified about this.

    Of course, the google toolbar was made to collect information, but
    it was not a fine print in some document -- IIRC (although, I have
    not seen the google toolbar for quite many years) the installation
    procedure was absolutely clear that the purpose of the software is
    to collect information in order to calculate pageranks and there was
    also an option to turn this off.

    There are a lot of people (most of them, I guess) who simply don't
    mind that somebody will know that user number 71523623 today visited
    some particular website and when goes to some other website --
    pageranks are for them.

    > As I sent in my previous mail, it is sending all your url's to
    > google including your phpmyadmin and control panel addresses!

    Frankly, I doubt that any recent web application uses your password as
    a part of url (instead of a POST parameter, a cookie, etc.), so the
    only thing google get is that you use phpmyadmin or control panel...

    BTW: If you want to know what information is leaked from your computer
    you should block all outgoing connections, set proxy (e.g., privoxy)
    and review its logs.


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