So just what IS this shit on your computer?

Spyware, trojans, keyloggers, adware, virii, etc - my opinion.

I really don't like to distinguish any of it as being much more than a waste of time. Generally, I consider spyware as the whole group of programs, scripts, activex controls, etc that install themselves automatically without your permission, or make it difficult or impossible to remove them, reinstall themselves on the fly, create new files to keep themsleves alive, send advertising without your consent, change permissions on system files or registry entries to prevent removal, track your usage without your consent, silently reinstall themsleves when you remove them in the add/remove programs list, etc. Virii shares a lot of the same qualities as spyware, except there often seems to be no advertising involved, or it's created simply to do harm, such as deleting files on your computer, formatting your hard drive, or just generally destructive behavior.

 

Why do people create this shit?

Good question. Mostly money I'm guessing, at least for spyware. If only one in a thousand people click on one of the ads popped up by their shit, they make a few cents for the click. If they get enough clicks, they can make some serious money. Some of the advertising supported programs do it quite legitimately, and give you clear warning before installing themselves, and give easy removal according to Microsoft's guidelines for Windows programs. Unfortunately, many do not, and that is why this site exists.

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