The Spyware and Adware Guide IV

Spyware / Adware Navigation
1. Intro
2. What is Spyware / Adware
3. Is Spyware illegal?
4. Browser Hijackers a & others
5. Adaware Tutorial
6. Spyware / Adware Links

Browser Hijackers
Aside from downloading and installing programs at your volition, the Web is filled with all different sorts of booby traps for you fall into. For example have you ever typed in a URL that didn’t exist, and instead of getting the classic 404 message that the server was not found, you were redirected to a search page that you never intended to come across. Well, you have just been hijacked.

What’s known as a “Browser Hijacker” modifies the settings in your web browser, to either change your homepage to that company’s homepage, or a different search page that would most likely bypass the search itself, and redirect you to a paysite. There is nothing justifiable in using this method. How dare they mess with your computer settings without your consent? That’s why it’s called hijacking. iGetNet, ILookUp, and LoadFonts are three known browser hijackers.

Online Testing
http://www.pcpitstop.com/spycheck/scan.asp
http://www.doxdesk.com/parasite/

Browser Plug-ins
Have you ever been surfing the web and you just happen to notice a search bar in your browser that just wasn’t there before? These little tools pass themselves off to be a convenient search utility, but what it actually does is record your search entries and sends them home to its master. These are known as browser plug-ins. A lot of those “surf the web for cash” schemes use these programs. Comet Cursor, Alexa and Huntbar are among the few.
Keyloggers

Commercial Keyloggers to exactly what their name implies. They monitor the user’s keystrokes in order to gather information about the user to relay back to its creator. I-Spy,
NetTrack and WinGuardian are among the perpetrators.

Dialers
An absolute crime!!! You sometimes find these sitting on your desktop after you close your web browser. Curious to find out what it may be, you open up the program and it makes an attempt to dial your modem. It’s usually either an expensive 1-900 number or an international call with which you’ll be paying through the nose. After you delete this travesty of a program from your desktop, much to your dismay, you find that the dialer was planted in several locations on your hard drive. What a dirty trick! Among the dials are names like BillByCall, DialerFactory, and HotActionDating.

Malware
These can just simply be defined as programs that you did not ask for, and when executed, does things that you would just never want done to your computer. Here are some excerpts taken from spywareguide.com that go into detailed description of the atrocities performed by Malware:

ClientMan
First reported as suspicious, it became clear soon that it will pass the ZoneAlarm firewall without user consent. When it tries to connect to the Internet and ZoneAlarm displays its dialog whether the program should be allowed to connect or not, ClientMan will auto-click the ‘Yes’ button after checking the ‘Always’ checkbox. This way, it grants itself Internet Access without the user even noticing more than a short flash of the ZA dialog.

• Stays resident in background
• Stealth: hides itself from user
• Makes changes to browser settings
• Connects to the internet by itself

Virtual Bouncer
It drive-by installs, phones home after install, gives itself the right (in the EULA) to download and install software from its servers, and you have to *pay them* for a “subscription” with a credit card to have it removed, then opt out of having the “subscription” automatically renewed.