Is Spyware a Security threat?

Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by still_longhorn, Nov 4, 2004.

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  1. still_longhorn

    still_longhorn Registered Member

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    I don't want a poll. I want opinions.
    It's unbelievable that so many sysads do not consider spyware as a security threat. What do you think?
     
  2. Peaches4U

    Peaches4U Registered Member

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    http://www.spywareguide.com/txt_intro.php


    Spyware is potentially more dangerous beast than Adware because it can record your keystrokes, history, passwords, and other
    confidential and private information. Spyware is often sold as a spouse monitor, child monitor, a surveillance tool or simply as a tool to spy on users to gain unauthorized access. Spyware is also known as: snoopware, PC surveillance, key logger, system recorders, Parental control software, PC recorder, Detective software and Internet monitoring software.

    Spyware covertly gathers user information and activity without the user's knowledge. Spy software can record your keystrokes as you type them, passwords, credit card numbers, sensitive information, where you surf, chat logs, and can even take random screenshots of your activity. Basically whatever you do on the computer is completely viewable by the spy. You do not have to be connected to the Internet to be spied upon.

    The latest permutations of Spyware include the use of routines to mail out user activity via e-mail or posting information to the web where the spy can view it at their leisure. Also many spyware vendors use "stealth routines" and "polymorphic" (meaning to change" techniques to avoid detection and removal by popular anti-spy software. In some cases Spyware vendors have went as far as to counter-attack anti-spy packages by attempting to break their use. In addition they may use routines to re-install the spyware application after it has been detected.
     
  3. nadirah

    nadirah Registered Member

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    Is spyware a security threat?
    YES.

    Should we get rid of spyware once and for all?
    YES.

    Do you hate spyware?
     
  4. Jimbob1989

    Jimbob1989 Registered Member

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    Isnt there a big difference between adware and spyware in the people that use it.

    I may be wrong but this is how I look at it:

    Adware are files commonly used by companies to record your internet activity to create consumer reports on you. These consumber reports are then used to send specialised advertising to your computer.

    Spyware are files commonly used by hackers (probably black hat) to collect information and open certain ports or area's allowing an easier access to hackers.

    Jimbob
     
  5. firefoxguy

    firefoxguy Guest

    Spyware certainly sounds more scary than adware, hence the fight by malware vendors to define the words to their purpose.

    To me they are all the same ,malware.
     
  6. still_longhorn

    still_longhorn Registered Member

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    Hey! I hear you guys. But the question here really is if spyware is a real security threat to corporate networks or simply an annoyance? (Actually, they had the same attitude towards spam.) I want to read some real good arguments pro or con re the question posed and I know I can get the best opinions in this forum...
     
  7. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    Hi Still_Longhorn,

    Companies and individuals that create/distribute and infect user's computers with spyware have already shown a lack of ethics. From what I have read (generally) spyware have the ability to update themselves with new versions and possibly install additional spyware/malware. What is to stop them from adding this "additional content" to your computer. They could simply make one of the updates add a keylogger or RAT (remote access trojan).
    Spyware seems to be getting increasingly more difficult to remove and stealthier. Spammers have joined with malware authors, I would not be surprised if Spyware Authors have done the same.
    It is also about escalation (one compromised computer leading to a more sensitive computer etc.).

    Yes it is a real security threat.
     
  8. still_longhorn

    still_longhorn Registered Member

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    Thanks Devinco,
    Sysads of major networks (no kidding!) claim that a good lockdown app can adequately address the problem. Your opinion?
     
  9. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    Are you referring to the major ISP networks or large corporate networks?
    It would depend on the capabilities of the specific lockdown app. Do you have a link for one they are referring to?
     
  10. still_longhorn

    still_longhorn Registered Member

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    I was referring to large corporate networks...
    Lockdowns referred to are IIS and URL scan restrictions
     
  11. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    If you are able to severely restrict the internet access to only websites that are company approved (or on the company's intranet) rather than the whole internet, then that will help a great deal. I haven't heard of spyware spreading via email, however that might change in the future, so you should guard that vector as well.
     
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