Despite all the publicity about spyware being a new threat -- stuff that seeps into your computer like sludge when you visit the wrong website or download the wrong free software -- it's remarkably like the computer virus threats that preceded it, experts say.
"Spyware does not do anything new," said Bob Hansmann, senior product marketing manager for Trend Micro, a Japanese computer security firm with U.S. headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. "It is simply taking existing and proven threat techniques and packaging them for different purposes -- to generate money for the authors" by stealing credit card numbers, Social Security numbers or other salable information and transmitting it over the Internet to the perpetrator.
"A lot of things that would have been called computer viruses before are now called spyware," Hansmann said. "In fact, about 80 to 90 percent of programs that used to be called viruses or "Trojans" [programs that sneak into a computer disguised as something legitimate, a reference to the Trojan horse of Greek mythology] would be called spyware now because they expose information or steal information."
So what's the big deal about spyware? - StarTribune
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