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Spyware and Cookies

Spyware are basically programs developed to gather user information through unethical means and report them back to the host website. The main idea behind this is to gain unauthorized access to the user's lifestyle and personal details so that they can then be used to either promote easy advertising or dupe people into shelling out their hard earned money.

With the development of spyware programs, there has also been an increased development in the number of anti-spyware programs in order to minimize the effects of these spyware programs. However, one needs to be careful enough to be able to discriminate between authorized and fake anti-spyware programs like, antivermins, ultimate cleaner, contravirus, etc.

While most people believe cookies to be spywares, these are actually mere text files that are placed on the computer and track back information about the user to the web sites that have placed them. However, many a times these cookies are used to gather information without the conscious knowledge of the surfer. This is when they are abused as spywares. There are numerous examples of work places where supervisors are known to use these cookies to maintain a record of the employee's surfing preferences and the time they spend surfing these sites. This is however spyware in its ‘low-tech' form and a possible solution to this type of spying is to use encryption.

It is quite normal to find one of these cookies always present on your computer since, most web developers use them. The important thing is to check the extent to which these cookies are being put to use. Some of the common examples of cookies include, Hitbox, Mediaplex, Doubleclick, etc.
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