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Modern Operating Systems by Herbert Bos and Andrew...
Modern_Operating_Systems_by_Herbert_Bos_and_Andrew_S._Tanenbaum_4th_Ed.pdf-M ODERN O PERATING S YSTEMS
Modern Operating Systems by Herbert...
Modern_Operating_Systems_by_Herbert_Bos_and_Andrew_S._Tanenbaum_4th_Ed.pdf-M ODERN O PERATING S YSTEMS
Page 710
SEC. 9.9
but not to anyone subsequent to him outside the legal profession. Once the user has
accepted the license, he may lose his right to sue the spyware vendor because he
has just agreed to let the spyware run amok, although sometimes local laws over-
ride such licenses. (If the license says ‘‘Licensee hereby irrevocably grants to
licensor the right to kill licensee’s mother and claim her inheritance’’ licensor may
have some trouble convincing the courts when he comes to collect, despite
licensee’s agreeing to the license.)
Actions Taken by Spyware
Now let us look at what spyware typically does. All of the items in the list
below are common.
1. Change the browser’s home page.
Modify the browser’s list of favorite (bookmarked) pages.
Add new toolbars to the browser.
Change the user’s default media player.
Change the user’s default search engine.
Add new icons to the Windows desktop.
Replace banner ads on Web pages with those the spyware picks.
Put ads in the standard Windows dialog boxes.
Generate a continuous and unstoppable stream of pop-up ads.
The first three items change the browser’s behavior, usually in such a way that even
rebooting the system does not restore the previous values. This attack is known as
browser hijacking
(mild, because there are even worse hijacks).
The two
items change settings in the Windows registry, diverting the unsuspecting user to a
different media player (that displays the ads the spyware wants displayed) and a
different search engine (that returns Websites the spyware wants it to).
icons to the desktop is an obvious attempt to get the user to run newly installed
software. Replacing banner ads (468
images) on subsequent Web pages
makes it look like all Web pages visited are advertising the sites the spyware
chooses. But it is the last item that is the most annoying: a pop-up ad that can be
closed, but which generates another pop-up ad immediately
ad infinitum
with no
way to stop them. Additionally, spyware sometimes disables the firewall, removes
competing spyware, and carries out other malicious actions.
Many spyware programs come with uninstallers, but they rarely work, so inex-
perienced users have no way to remove the spyware. Fortunately, a new industry of
antispyware software is being created and existing antivirus firms are getting into
the act as well.
Still the line between legitimate programs and spyware is blurry.

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