A whole lot of things are out there interested in spying on what you do on your computer and on the Internet. Here are some of the culprits:
Cookies: Websites plant these simple text files on your system. Some of them are legitimate, like the ones that let you personalize content on the sites you visit. Others collect information like your name, computer details, websites you visit and so on to make a fairly accurate marketing profile of you and sell that to advertisers.
Web Bugs: These are transparent GIF images, 1 pixel by 1 pixel in size embedded in an email or a site that will collect information like your computer IP address, the browser you’re using and what pages of that site you visited. If you are on the site that planted cookies on your PC, the Web Bug will talk to these cookies that take information conveyed in them and send it to the server that planted the cookie and Web Bug.
Trojans: A script kiddie’s favourite tool which allows him to control a remote computer illegally. When a computer is infected with a Trojan a port is opened by it which acts as a backdoor of the computer. Trojan is one of the deadliest programs available. Back Orifice and Sub 7 are two of the famous Trojans available. Some common features with Trojans are as follows:
• Open your CD-Rom drive
• Capture a screenshot of your computer
• Record your key strokes and send them to the “Hacker”
• Full Access to all your drives and files
• Ability to use your computer as a bridge to do other hacking related activities.
• Disable your keyboard
• Disable your mouse…and more!
Spyware: What is Spyware? In easy terms, Spyware is software that transmits personally identifiable information from your computer to some place in the internet without your special knowledge. Spyware is typically not the product you install itself, but small add-ons, that you may or may not disable during install. In most cases, the EULA somewhere has a few lines telling you about privacy matters, but typically most users don‚t read the complete EULA and never know they got Spyware on their system.