Most people who use a computer and have an Internet connection has either experienced or at least heard of spyware. But all of these people may not know exactly what is meant when people talk about spyware or adware. Knowing the definitions of these terms may help you prevent yourself from getting these infections on your computer. Plus if you know what these infections can do and how they can get on your computer it should help you keep an eye out for their causes.
Symantec who is probably best known for their Norton Antivirus software has their own definitions of spyware and adware. Take a look at these definitions to help in your own understanding of what causes them and how they can affect your computer.
Symantec's definition of Spyware:
Programs that have the ability to scan systems or monitor activity and relay information to other computers or locations in cyber-space. Among the information that may be actively or passively gathered and disseminated by Spyware: passwords, log-in details, account numbers, personal information, individual files or other personal documents. Spyware may also gather and distribute information related to the user's computer, applications running on the computer, Internet browser usage or other computing habits.
Spyware frequently attempts to remain unnoticed, either by actively hiding or by simply not making its presence on a system known to the user. Spyware can be downloaded from Web sites (typically in shareware or freeware), email messages, and instant messengers. Additionally, a user may unknowingly receive and/or trigger spyware by accepting an End User License Agreement from a software program linked to the spyware or from visiting a website that downloads the spyware with or without an End User License Agreement.
Symantec's definition of Adware:
Programs that facilitate delivery of advertising content to the user through their own window, or by utilizing another program's interface. In some cases, these programs may gather information from the user's computer, including information related to Internet browser usage or other computing habits, and relay this information back to a remote computer or other location in cyber-space.
Adware can be downloaded from Web sites (typically in shareware or freeware), email messages, and instant messengers. Additionally, a user may unknowingly receive and/or trigger adware by accepting an End User License Agreement from a software program linked to the adware or from visiting a website that downloads the adware with or without an End User License Agreement.
Click here to read up on Symantec's classifications of various Adware types.