Spyware, Adware and Rogue Programs
Spyware is a program often installed on a computer without a user’s consent, or prominent notice. It also collects information, such as visited websites, without the user’s knowledge. Some spyware programs are installed by botnets and computer worms in an effort to earn quick profits. An example of such a botnet is called Rbot or Zotob; it exploits security vulnerabilities in Windows. Another example is the Waledac botnet which downloads rogue security software. Cyber-criminals are not bothered at all if the computer worm has been removed from an affected computer because their target is to install other programs that will give them money; e.g. adware, spyware or rogue software.
Note that some legitimate software was also found to install spyware or adware on computers; e.g. P2P or download managers software. Sometimes a setup file that is bundled with other software installer can be flagged adware or spyware, if the antivirus or anti-spyware vendors found the installer or the process of installation shows adware and spyware behaviors.
If the computer does not have an anti-spyware program or the virus protection tool has missed in detecting the spyware, adware or rogue programs installed by botnet or another legitimate program, the end-user’s private information is at risk. Most security software will flag an adware with low risk and provide an option to remove from the computer or ignore the detection.
Ignoring the detection on adware or spyware means the antivirus or antispyware will no longer detect any adware with the same threat name that the scanner has on its database, or the particular adware program or files will be excluded from future detections. Note that whatever rating the virus protection tool provides, it is important to note that it is being flagged due to privacy or security concern.