Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spyware, Internet ads could be their hub! - Tech Tuesday

Hey all! I hope you all are doing just great! :)

It's Tech Tuesday and I have a real discussion out here about the security issues related to the internet advertisements. I guess this could catch your interest!

Let's first talk in brief about Spyware. Spyware is a type of malware (malicious software) installed on computers that collects information about users without their knowledge. The presence of spyware is typically hidden from the user and can be difficult to detect. Spyware is often secretly installed on a user's personal computer without their knowledge. However, some spyware such as keyloggers may be installed by the owner of a shared, corporate, or public computer on purpose in order to intentionally monitor users.

Sometimes, spyware is included along with genuine software, and may come from an official software vendor. In an attempt to increase the understanding of spyware, a more formal classification of its included software types is provided by the term privacy-invasive software. In response to the emergence of spyware, a small industry has sprung up dealing in anti-spyware software. Running anti-spyware software has become a widely recognized element of computer security practices for computers, especially those running Microsoft Windows. A number of jurisdictions have passed anti-spyware laws, which usually target any software that is surreptitiously installed to control a user's computer.

Adware, or advertising-supported software, is any software package which automatically renders advertisements. These advertisements can be in the form of a pop-up. They may also be in the user interface of the software or on a screen presented to the user during the installation process. The object of the Adware is to generate revenue for its author. Adware, by itself, is harmless; however, some adware may come with integrated spyware such as keyloggers and other privacy-invasive software.

You can, in simple terms, take a spyware to be a "spying software" being used by anyone to collect information about the stuff you got on your PC, or how are you using it and for what purpose. You all must have seen those advertisements that say you to download some 'zwinky toolbar' or 'cartoonise yourself'? Alas! my blog too shows such advertisements at time. Can we simply blame the advertising websites we joined in all such cases? The answer is NO.

Although there are some great advertising websites that catch the publishers' interest all because they promise high returns. But some such websites can be dangerous to all. I mean, your users and yourself too. How could it be dangerous to you? Well, such advertisements are considered potential threats. To be clear ZWINKY TOOLBAR IS A MALWARE! NEVER DOWNLOAD IT! Since your website or blog show such advertisements, it sometimes lead to be being permanently banned by search engines as your website becomes a potential threat, else in any case the reputation of your website dies.

As I said, this doesn't mean that we have to stop showing advertisements on our blogs or websites. Most of the visitors on small time blogs like that of mine never care to click any ads, but if a small income is generated without seeing in how much time, would it be harmful till the time it is legitimate? Of course not! I have been blogging since many years. I was out of the blogging world for a year in between, but then, I was back again with my this blog that I started last year.

In the meantime I discovered how to blog safely. There are so many risks associated with blogging, mostly for the users and some for the bloggers too. The biggest being these spyware that spread through the advertisements. So when I chose advertisers this time for myself, I paid attention to what all should I be keeping in mind. I did a lot of research by searching endlessly on various search engines to find some "good and safer" alternatives to google adsense since google rejected my application for adsense, reason - UNKNOWN! Huh! Anyways, let me share them with you all first, and then we will talk about the unsafe ones.

The safer and good alternatives I found were:

Monetize your site!

Similar to these banner advertising, Text advertising like Infolinks is quite safe. but! I said QUITE SAFE ONLY! To be honest both bidvertiser and Smowtion sometimes show undesirable and risky advertisements on my blog.

Many spyware programs display advertisements. Some programs simply display pop-up ads on a regular basis; for instance, one every several minutes, or one when the user opens a new browser window. Others display ads in response to the user visiting specific sites. Spyware operators present this feature as desirable to advertisers, who may buy ad placement in pop-ups displayed when the user visits a particular site. It is also one of the purposes for which spyware programs gather information on user behavior.

Many users complain about irritating or offensive advertisements as well. As with many banner ads, spyware advertisements often use animation or flickering banners, which can be visually distracting and annoying to users. Pop-up ads for pornography often display indiscriminately. Links to these sites may be added to the browser window, history or search function. When children are the users, this could possibly violate anti-pornography laws in some jurisdictions.

A number of spyware programs break the boundaries of illegality; variations of “Zlob.Trojan” and “Trojan-Downloader.Win32.INService” have been known to show undesirable child pornography, key gens, cracks and illegal software pop-up ads, which violate child pornography and copyright laws.

A further issue in the case of some spyware programs concerns the replacement of banner ads on viewed web sites. Spyware that acts as a web proxy or a Browser Helper Object can replace references to a site's own advertisements (which fund the site) with advertisements that instead fund the spyware operator. This cuts into the margins of advertising-funded Web sites.

Some websites I found to be completely unsafe to be used because of the type of advertisements they display, not because of payouts are:

Blue Advertise - In a review I found on the internet, I read a user saying - "Finally, I decided to stop using blueadvertise.com services because many negative effects for me as a publisher and of course will harmful visitors and readers of my blog. Luckily, my blog is not blocked by the search engines because the potential to harm Internet users. Now I became more cautious and selective when using any advertising company to monetize my blog." I guess that's enough of an evidence.

xtendmedia - Similar to review about BlueAdvertise, I got the review of xtendmedia. Just irritative advertisements, and some people complained about not receiving their payments!

crossadmedia - To be honest, I couldn't really find much about this website. Although whatever I found suggested it to be a bad advertising website.

Anyways, not talking much about advertising websites now, let us focus back on spyware. If I directly quote from another article on the interent, a list of few websties listed as "most dangerous ones by Norton":


A few spyware vendors, notably 180 Solutions, have written what the New York Times has dubbed "stealware", and what spyware researcher Ben Edelman terms affiliate fraud, a form of click fraud. Stealware diverts the payment of affiliate marketing revenues from the legitimate affiliate to the spyware vendor.

While one may not realize they have installed spyware, there are some signs that it exists on your computer. If you notice any changes to your Web browser that you did not make such as extra toolbars or different homepage settings, as well as changes to your security settings and favorites list, you could have spyware running on your system. Other signs of a spyware infection include pop-up ads which aren't related to a Web site you're viewing; usually spyware advertisements are adult content in nature and are not displayed in the same fashion as legitimate ads you would normally see on your favorite Web sites. You may also see advertisements when you're not browsing the Web. Clicking hyperlinks which do not work (or take you somewhere you didn't expect), a sluggish system, or your system taking longer to load the Windows desktop are all signs that your computer may be infected with spyware.

With the onset of spyware comes a plethora of anti-spyware software packages to rid your system of these unwanted and malicious programs. Anti-spyware software works by identifying any spyware installed on your system and removing it. Since spyware is installed like any other application on your system it will leave traces of itself in the system registry and in other places on your computer. Anti-spyware software will look for evidence of these files and delete them if found.

It is important to remember that not all companies who claim their software contains adware are really offering adware. There is always a chance that adware is spyware in disguise so to speak, and that programs with embedded spyware may not state its existence at all. Always stay on the side of caution and be sure to research privacy policies and licensing agreements that come with freeware. You should also become familiar with Internet lists of companies reported to be using spyware. Much like a firewall or anti-virus program, anti-spyware software is crucial to maintain optimal protection and security on your computer and network.

Why is a Spyware bad?

  • Spyware displays annoying popup advertisements. The spwyare software connects to the Internet without you knowing, downloading advertisements in the background. These ads appear on your screen according to directions sent by the advertisers and by the people that make the adware software. You have no control over when or whether these ads appear. They can sometimes appear even if your web browser is closed and you are not even connected to the Internet!
  • Spyware violates your privacy by collecting information about your browsing habits. In order to target their advertisements, spyware programs generally collect information about the web pages you visit. This information is sent to companies with whom you have no direct business relationship.
  • Spyware makes your computer insecure. Most spyware programs have the ability to upgrade themselves automatically. That means new features can be installed without your consent. By allowing spyware to be installed on your computer, you are allowing the software vendor to change their software to do whatever they want. They could even look at your personal files and transmit data about you which you did not expressly provide.
  • Spyware slows down your computer. Like any other program, spyware programs require computer processing power and hard drive space. In some cases, computers infected with multiple spyware programs slow down to the point that they are barely usable for Internet applications.
  • Spyware cannot be easily removed. Spyware makers don’t want you to remove their software, so they purposely make it very difficult to do so. Even after you remove the original program which contained the spyware, the spyware software often stays behind, running in the background. In some cases, you can’t remove it directly because it isn’t listed in the “Add/Remove Programs” control panel.

What is the solution?

There could be many. Be a bit sure about what are you clicking on the internet. What I mean is don't let yourself fall to those nice looking advertisements which could be deadly traps. Certain people use adult-advertising on their website as such ads readily catch people's interest. But to be very specific, "the users who browse porn are at the biggest risks of getting attacked by viruses, hackers and malware!". Most of the porn websites are made because they know that these are the websites which are gonna attract most of the users and they can be easily trapped with bots at service! You can find numerous articles on the internet about porn and spyware, viruses and all sort of malware being linked. I will think about it if I would post about it too soon. Let's see. This was one of the most basic one to avoid indulging in clicks that can lead you to problematic websites, caution can always lead to safety! and it would work with a failure rate of less than 1% if you can control yourself from clicking such advertisements or links! Another is installing Anti-spyware programs and firewalls.

To be very precise, these days Advertisements have become the actual hubs and vectors of spreading spyware. So be cautious when you are using internet! :)

Your comments are always welcomed as they help me improve me content. Please give me any valuable suggestion. Thanks for reading. Have a great day up ahead! :)


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! ^_^ I'll be back tomorrow! :)

  2. Interesting post. Quite long but I noticed that it's good how nuffnang ads, the one I'm using ain't part of norton's dangerous ad sites:)

    1. Not that long even! haha! I can make even longer posts, just depends on mood! haha! :D
      Oh! The norton list was the list of unsafe sites, not advertising or any specific genre. Moreover, I didn't review nuffnang ads, but I just read a few articles on the internet. They show that the website is quite trustworthy and a good advertising solution. So don't worry, you are connected to a good advertising network, Sherry! :)
      Thank you for your visit and comment. I'm glad that you found it interesting! ^_^ Good Evening!! :D

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks a lot! :) I'll be stopping by at urs too soon! :D :D

  4. security is becoming a hot topic since mac is facing issues windows faced 10 years ago! you may wish to read about it

    1. Thanks for the visit! :) Hope to see you soon again! :D Happy new week! :D Thanks for the suggestion! :) I did read about it! :)


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