• United States
Senior Editor

Reducing spyware’s sphere of influence

Oct 01, 20032 mins

* The rapid metamorphosis of spyware calls for automated update systems and dedicated anti-spyware programs

It’s not as if network executives don’t have enough things to worry about. This week’s Technology Update author ( takes a look at the latest growing threat: spyware.

Spyware programs arrive unknown to most users surrepticiously through other programs, downloads or e-mails.  It silently monitors user activity on the Internet, keeping track of information such as the Web sites a user visits. The programs log your exposure to advertising and report what users see, as well as when and for how long.  

Though not as dangerous as viruses,  spyware an drag down PC performance, slow Internet connections, reduce productivity, and threaten user privacy.

According to our author, Spyware changes on a weekly and sometimes even daily basis. For example, some types of spyware can now shoot back when fired upon in an attempt to remove anti-spyware utilities. In other cases, spyware changes names and jump from one location to another when they realize they have been detected and are about to be destroyed.

As a result, the anti-spyware lists and strategies that worked yesterday will not work tomorrow. The rapid metamorphosis points to the need for an automated update system, as well as a dedicated anti-spyware program that has the ability to adapt as it encounters new patterns of spyware.

Our author recommends anti-spyware utilities that are pattern-based adaptive programs that scan systems to find and remove Trojan horses, key loggers, dialers, adware, cookies and other unwanted software.