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Spyware History 101

Viruses have been around for a very long time and were originally designed by computer programmers as practical jokes. These first viruses weren't dangerous and were only meant as a bit of fun between programmers. However, eventually viruses were created or duplicated for malicious purposes and were released into the Internet world with devastating effects.  Find out more.

History Of Spyware

Spyware isn't technically a virus because it can't normally replicate itself. It will only be installed onto computers if someone runs the install program of an infected program. It is commonly bundled with illegal software and freeware.

Spyware has a long history and it draws its roots from an almost innocent past. People have always been looking for a way to use the internet to make money. In the 1990's people started advertising on the internet as a way to promote their own products and businesses. Internet marketing was initially used to promote all sorts of things. Banner adverts and text links were common types of advertising campaigns. However, advertisers found out that they were missing out because of popup blockers. Pop up adverts were once very successful and so these popup blockers coupled with the fact that people were very annoyed about popups stopped them dead in their tracks. This made marketers think about another solution.

Adware

Advertisers dreamed up a plan to create adware. This would be installed on peoples computers, would record what kind of sites and products people liked, and then display ads based on these preferences.  This was a legitimate piece of software and didn't really cause any harm to your computer. The only thing that it might do was consume some of your computers resources and slow it down slightly.

Spyware

Spyware on the other hand is the evil cousin of adware. Instead of displaying adverts, spyware actually spies on your computer. After the advent of adware, it wasn't that difficult for programmers to start producing spyware and such infections became very common in the late 1990's and on.

Spyware is very damaging and can lead to all sorts of problems including identity theft, cyber stalking, and physical attacks. Because of spyware,  Internet crimes are becoming more and more of an issue and need to be dealt with as quickly as possible. Many governments realize the importance of these crimes and are creating new strict laws against them.

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In 2003, more than 10 million Americans fell victim to identity theft.

Identity theft costs business and individuals $53 billion dollars annually

In 2003, Americans spent 300 million hours resolving issues related to identity theft.

70% of all identity theft cases are perpetrated by a co-worker or employee of an affiliated business.