During 2004 there were significant strides in the battle against
spyware which will change the future of the invasive threats.
The Federal Trade Commission and the United States Congress
addressed several issues involving spyware in an effort to
minimize the threats coming from the quickly growing industry.
Before these spyware issues were brought to government attention
spyware was known to be nearly anything that was an internet
There is now a formal definition telling that spyware is
“software that aids in gathering information about a person or
organization without their knowledge and which may send such
information to another entity without the consumer’s consent, or
asserts control over a computer without the consumer’s
knowledge.” Also working against spyware, the congress passed
several bills to stop spyware from installing and running itself
on someone’s computer without their knowledge.
Most spyware distributors were able to sneak around the news
laws set into place by the legislation passed by making their
spy software more difficult to remove. Spyware will install
unwanted toolbars, show pop ups, alter security settings, change
your browser home page and change or delete system files. Other
forms of spyware can log each key stroke you make and then send
or sell it to unknown parties.
Spybot Search and Destroy and Lavasoft’s AdAware programs are
available to personal computer users for free to combat spyware
threats. On the other side, spyware companies approached their
invasive methods in a different way by coaxing users into buying
their products which would then install spyware. To stop these
efforts by spyware the FTC filed suits against Seismic
Entertainment Productions and SmartBot.net who were selling
their spyware to be installed as an anti-spyware product.
These companies’ programs, Spy Wiper and Spy Deleter, would send
warning messages to users that their system had spyware and by
purchasing and installing on of these programs the threats could
be detected and removed. On the contrary, the programs would
bombard a user’s computer with pop ups and install additional
spyware, causing computer malfunctions.
PestPatrol is another example of spyware companies’ stealth like
methods. This popular anti-spyware product will actually detect
spyware applications on a fresh computer with Windows XP that
has not been connected to the internet yet. This is usually a
definite sign of rogue spyware. These false claims by
anti-spyware products are partially the reason why it is
estimated nine out of ten computers are infected with spyware.
Studies done by industry experts at IDC have predicted the
spyware market will grow up to $400 million dollars by 2008.
Major security companies such as McAfee and Symantec are already
beginning to include anti-spyware software in their product
packages. Yahoo, Earthlink and Microsoft have also joined the
anti-spyware world, releasing their versions of spyware removal
By Microsoft breaking into the anti-spyware world several
smaller spyware tool companies may be smashed because users will
most likely prefer the trusted company’s software over an