<software, security>

Any type of software that transmits information without the user's knowledge, usually with malicious intent. Information is sent via the Internet to a server somewhere. This may benefit the user indirectly, e.g. by helping to improve the software he is using; it may be collected for advertising purposes or to steal information such as passwords to online accounts or credit card details. It may come in the form of a keylogger or may even record mouse movements.

Spyware can get installed in many different ways, e.g. by a virus exploiting some security vulnerability in an application or the operating system. Often it get installed alongside, or instead of, software that the user installs for some other purpose (the most ironic being a spyware cleaning program).

There are many tools available to locate and remove spyware and other malware from a computer.

Most HTTP cookies help the user, e.g. recording the fact that they are logged in, but some others could be considered as spyware because they are for the benefit of advertisers rather than the user.

Last updated: 2023-03-16

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