Spyware - silent enemy

Monday, 28 April 2003, 2:59 AM EST

End users often complain about stringent security policies at enterprises with well-enforced security measures. However, like all well-meaning advice, there are always good reasons for such stringent conditions. One never knows when the latest MP3 music player, free games or "useful" little application will have vicious spyware embedded within.

"Spyware or adware are hidden software programs that transmit user information via the Internet to advertisers in exchange for free downloaded software," said Lee Boon Kuey, managing director for Southeast Asia and India, Network Associates.

"Spyware is perhaps best described as split-personality software," said Ross Wilson, senior regional director, Southeast Asia, Symantec. It resides on the computer's hard drive and usually has a practical and attractive set of primary features. This core functionality has nothing to do with spying. It might be a utility or a MP3 player or some kind of game, which are usually offered as a kind of freeware.

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