Security

Automated Spyware Collection and Analysis

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Executive Summary

Various online studies on the prevalence of spyware attest overwhelming numbers (up to 80%) of infected home computers. How-ever, the term spyware is ambiguous and can refer to anything from plug-ins that display advertisements to software that records and leaks user input. To shed light on the true nature of the spyware problem, a re-cent measurement paper attempted to quantify the extent of spyware on the Internet. More precisely, the authors crawled the web and analyzed the executables that were downloaded. For this analysis, only a single anti-spyware tool was used. Unfortunately, this is a major shortcoming as the results from this single tool neither capture the actual amount of the threat, nor appropriately classify the functionality of suspicious executables in many cases.

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