April 29, 2002

[SPYWARE] - Spy vs. Spy

[SPYWARE] - Spy vs. Spy The battle between spyware and anti-spyware is heating up. Salon magazine reports (Salon.com Technology | Spyware vs. anti-spyware) that spyware developers have started creating spy software that surreptitiously finds its way onto your computer then specifically targets your anti-spyware software (like Ad-Aware).

If you're new to this problem, here's some background. When you install software on your machine, sometimes a little evil comes along with it. Some freeware and shareware manufacturers allow spyware (software that displays ads on your machine and spies on you) to be installed along with their product. Cydoor and BonzaiBuddy are a couple of the worst offenders - sneaking onto your computer when you're not looking.

At best they steal processor cycles, slowing down your machine. At worst, who knows what personal information they are stealing from you?

Software like Lavasoft's AD-Aware is freely available and allows you to protect yourself from spyware by deleting the most popular offending trojan horses. However, the battle is heating up with some spyware manufacturers targeting AD-Aware to disable it on your machine, opening you up to all future spyware.

My question: how is this any different from other trojan horses and viruses? Is it time to start prosecuting people who bundle spy software along with their software? Is it even possible to do so?

Posted by James at April 29, 2002 2:36 PM
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