Spyware – Part III

7 Approaches for Minimizing the Spyware Threats

Trying to win a war with spyware is not easy. First of all, the undiscovered security vulnerabilities are still remained in the operating systems and web browsers. Secondly, the current technologies can not stop invasion of spyware, and the smart hackers always can find ways to get in people’s computer. Lastly, the revenue generated from the spyware business is invested back in the production of more sophisticated spyware. So it can be forecasted that the new species of spyware or more intelligent ones will still continue coming up. It seems just impossible to eliminate spyware from this planet totally, but there are some things at least can be done to minimize their threats. The approaches to reduce the risks of getting infected with spyware include:

  • Education
  • Technology
  • Legislation
  • Industry Self-Regulation (Schwartz 2006, 12)


Education could be the most effective way to avoid those uninvited guests. Lots of Internet users just do not take the spyware issues seriously enough. They only realize their problems when situations get worse like: credit card details are stolen, or systems are too slow to get response. So to increase people’s awareness of spyware and understand their responsibilities is critical in this battle. To reduce spyware in computers, Internet users need keeping security patched up to date, use effective anti-spyware tools for protection, and run trustworthy programs only.


A second approach that can defend against spyware invastion is technology. Computer engineers and scientists have devoted themselves in fighting spyware for a long time. Their research results have been adopted in many powerful anti-spyware products and latest operation systems. In the Microsoft’s new operating system Windows Vista many new security features are introduced, part of spyware problems can be solved.


Legislation is another decisive approach that can affect the atmosphere of the spyware ecosystem. Having anti-spyware laws, the business of software companies can get regulated. The spyware vendors have to consider the consequence before distributing their spyware illegally. So through legislation, and with the efforts of law enforcement, the illegal spyware distribution can be effectively controlled.


Lastly, since even the fortune 500 companies are in this game, it is necessary to call for a self-regulation to those giant business machines. Say no to spyware, respect customers’ privacy, and cherish their global reputations could benefit the both parties in long run.


8 Conclusions

By discussing the evolvement of spyware, giving a tentative definition and examining its uses and the information it looks for, a rough image of spyware is portrayed in helping the understanding of the spyware threats. Spyware could affect many aspects of computer usage, but the greatest menaces of spyware times are: public’s privacy is violated, and individual or corporate sensitive information is at risk.


From the analysis of spyware and result of the spyware experiment, it is relatively easy to make a low-cost spyware. Currently, there are several major types of spyware with the only goals of advertising and gathering information. The methods often used in spyware installation all take advantage of users’ ignorance and security holes in computer systems. The critical functionality of spyware is accessing Internet without user’s knowledge, so spyware may adopt many possible programming techniques to achieve this goal. From a technical point of view, the implementation of spyware is not as complicated as producing virus, and it require only innovative enough thinking and deep enough knowledge of operating system and networking protocols.


Spyware manufacturing now becomes a big business. The only motivation of making spyware is money, and that may explain a lot on the widespread of the spyware. Just like other web-based businesses, the distribution of spyware is conducted under an affiliate program, and affiliate of the program gets commission for contributing to each spyware installation. For the profit reason, spyware will still be created to endanger computer users’ privacy and steal information. That has given rise to many legal issues. Fortunately, law enforcement has take steps to fight with spyware, and spyware vendors’ business has gotten regulated in some countries.
The risks of being threatened by spyware could be greatly minimized if efforts are made to properly educate the Internet users. Along with the help of technology, the educated public have much confidence in defending against spyware invasion. Moreover, the unlawful uses of spyware could be further controlled by the proper legislations. In addition, the industry self-regulation is one of the good ways to reduce the intrusive spyware advertising. A health business environment can benefit both consumers and advertisers in long term. With all these efforts, a clear and undisturbed computing environment is ensured.

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