Examples Of Spyware And What They Are

Spyware is a general term used to describe software that performs certain behaviors such as advertising, collecting personal information, or changing the configuration of your computer, generally without appropriately obtaining your consent first.

Spyware is often associated with software that displays advertisements (called adware) or software that tracks personal or sensitive information.

That does not mean all software that provides ads or tracks your online activities is bad. For example, you might sign up for a free music service, but you “pay” for the service by agreeing to receive targeted ads. If you understand the terms and agree to them, you may have decided that it is a fair tradeoff. You might also agree to let the company track your online activities to determine which ads to show you.

Other kinds of Spyware make changes to your computer that can be annoying and can cause your computer slow down or crash.

These programs can change your Web browsers home page or search page, or add additional components to your browser you don’t need or want. These programs also make it very difficult for you to change your settings back to the way you originally had them.

The key in all cases is whether or not you (or someone who uses your computer) understand what the software will do and have agreed to install the software on your computer.

There are a number of ways Spyware or other unwanted software can get on your computer. A common trick is to covertly install the software during the installation of other software you want such as a music or video file sharing program.

Any software that covertly gathers user information through the user’s Internet connection without his or her knowledge, usually for advertising purposes. Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the Internet; however, it should be noted that the majority of shareware and freeware applications do not come with SpyWare. Once installed, the Spyware monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Spyware can also gather information about e-mail addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers

Aside from the questions of ethics and privacy, SpyWare steals from the user by using the computer’s memory resources and also by eating bandwidth as it sends information back to the spy ware’s home base via the user’s Internet connection. Because SpyWare is using memory and system resources, the applications running in the background can lead to system crashes or general system instability.

Because SpyWare exists as independent executable programs, they have the ability to monitor keystrokes, scan files on the hard drive, snoop other applications, such as chat programs or word processors, install other SpyWare programs, read cookies, change the default home page on the Web browser, consistently relaying this information back to the SpyWare author who will either use it for advertising/marketing purposes or sell the information to another party.

Licensing agreements that accompany software downloads sometimes warn the user that a SpyWare program will be installed along with the requested software, but the licensing agreements may not always be read completely because the notice of a SpyWare installation is often couched in obtuse, hard-to-read legal disclaimers.

Examples of SpyWare

These common SpyWare programs illustrate the diversity of behaviors found in these attacks. Note that as with computer viruses, researchers give names to SpyWare programs which may not be used by their creators. Programs may be grouped into “families” based not on shared program code, but on common behaviors, or by “following the money” of apparent financial or business connections. For instance, a number of the SpyWare programs distributed by Claria are collectively known as “Gator”. Likewise, programs which are frequently installed together may be described as parts of the same SpyWare package, even if they function separately.

o CoolWebSearch, a group of programs, takes advantage of Internet Explorer vulnerabilities. The package directs traffic to advertisements on Web sites including coolwebsearch.com. It displays pop-up ads, rewrites search engine results, and alters the infected computer’s hosts file to direct DNS lookups to these sites.

o Internet Optimizer, also known as DyFuCa, redirects Internet Explorer error pages to advertising. When users follow a broken link or enter an erroneous URL, they see a page of advertisements. However, because password-protected Web sites (HTTP Basic authentication) use the same mechanism as HTTP errors, Internet Optimizer makes it impossible for the user to access password-protected sites.

o Zango (formerly 180 Solutions) transmits detailed information to advertisers about the Web sites which users visit. It also alters HTTP requests for affiliate advertisements linked from a Web site, so that the advertisements make unearned profit for the 180 Solutions Company. It opens pop-up ads that cover over the Web sites of competing companies.

o HuntBar, aka WinTools or Adware,WebSearch was installed by an ActiveX drive-by download at affiliate Web sites, or by advertisements displayed by other SpyWare programs-an example of how SpyWare can install more SpyWare. These programs add toolbars to IE, track aggregate browsing behavior, redirect affiliate references, and display advertisements.

oZlob Trojan or just Zlob, Downloads itself to your computer via ActiveX codec and reports information back to Control Server. Some information can be as your search history, the Websites you visited, and even Key Strokes.

5 Deadly Financial Mistakes You Should Avoid Now To Keep Out Of Debt Later!

Every year more families are going to the brink of financial ruin because they never properly considered their financial future. For some, it's just to stressful or emotionally uncomfortable to think about and important financial decisions get put off indefinitely. For many, they do not know and were never taught some basic financial planning tips to keep them out of debt in the future. Here are five financial mistakes you should avoid now to keep your financial future bright:

5 Financial Mistakes To Avoid:

1. Buying on credit: Today's interest rates are fairly low, but this does not mean you should buy excessively on credit! Carrying a large balance on credit cards month to month is a recipe for disaster. Finance charges alone can slowly eat you up. Buying a car on credit ties up even more of your future earnings for debt repayment.

Just a few decades ago buying so much on credit was unheard of. Children were taught early on what a huge mistake this was. We all need to relearn this lesson and eliminate buying on credit to keep ourselves out of debt

2. Making financial decision based on emotion: When you are going through great stress or emotional turmoil you are most vulnerable to making disastrous financial financial decisions. It is when you are feeling some king of pressure that you are most likely to make silly decisions that get you into trouble later. Do not make a big money decision when you are emotionally vulnerable.

3. Not adequately insuring against catastrophic risk: Every year families are financially devastated because they are not protected against disaster. Loss of home and assets to fire and flood are very common events that a surprising number of people do not protect against with insurance. You should also protect against disaster common to your area. Earthquakes and tornadoes for example. Just as important is some kind of life insurance to protect your loved ones in case of death.

4. Falling for the slick salesmen pitch: They say a sucker is born every minute. And you can be sure there is a slick salesmen waiting to take advantage of every one of them! You should never enter into any financial decision based on salesmen pressure tactics or one-time offers. Great deals that can not wait for you to think on it or obtain a second opinion are often financial disasters waiting to happen.

5. Not planning out your financial future: For many people it is so much easier to put off the tough financial planning right now and get to it someday in the future. Well we know how that story goes. Years into the future many families are neck deep in debt with no relief in sight. And it could of all been avoided with some sensible planning. Talk to a financial planner today so you can be debt free tomorrow!

There you have it. Five important financial mistakes to avoid so you can be both debt and worry free in your future. No matter where you are at right now financially, it's not to late to get started. Make an appointment with a financial planner today and get your financial future properly planned out. It's one of the most important things you can do for your family and for yourself.

Discounted Cash Flow Modelling to Achieve Personal Financial Goals

A discounted cash flow or DCF model is a style of calculation linking streams of future money flows to lump sum amounts. Discounted cash flow models have a range of business-related applications, and are used extensively by economists, accountants, actuaries, engineers, business valuators, finance professionals, and others.

For example, a company may wish to finance a project if (and only if) the Internal Rate of Return exceeds 10% per year. The anticipated development costs for the project may be large for the initial year. On the other hand, significant revenues are anticipated for Year 2 onward. The company directors rely on a DCF model to help determine whether or not the project's Internal Rate of Return exceed their 10% threshold.

Discounted cash flow models also have important applications in everyday life that are often overlooked. For example, consider auto dealers who advertise low finance rates to prospective clients. From a car buyer's perspective, low finance rates are understood to be good, since they mean lower monthly payments. By using a DCF model, a buyer can determine the monetary value on the low finance rate offer.

Everyday use of a Discounted Cash Flow model would include (but would not be restricted to) the following:

  • Mortgage Refinancing: For homeowners with a fixed-rate mortgage, refinancing often debts paying a penalty. A DCF model can be used to calculate whether the interest savings exceeded the penalty cost
  • First-Time Home Ownership: First time home ownership involves many new costs, and can be intimidating to many of us. A DCF model can help by comparing long term home ownership costs against rental costs
  • Lease or Own Vehicle: A DCF model can help car shoppers in their decision whether to buy or lease a vehicle

Examples of these and other everyday applications can be viewed at the author's website.

Through the above (and other) practical applications, Discounted Cash Flow models can assist all of us in achieving our personal financial goals.

The Art Of Flattery – Using Flattery To Become More Attractive

Many people completely hate the word "flattery" and to even say there is an art to this makes them shudder with total disgust.

In a culture where everything is either right or wrong with very little room for the "grays" in between, I can understand why the word "flattery" rubs people the wrong way. I can also understand why many are sickened to the stomach because flattery is often associated with compromising one's values ​​and integrity.

But is flattery always a bad thing? And does flattery always have to be insincere? Does flattery make you more attractive and should you use the art of flattery on the men / women you find attractive?

Personally I find that mild flattery does often move things along more pleasantly than outright candidness. While excessive insincere praises intended to put the other person into the position of owed something to the flatterer is cheap and cheesy (and often reveals emotionally "needy" personality out for approval), a little flattery does help to quickly warm up first meetings or bridge relationship gaps.

For example starting off your conversation with a statement like "You look gorgeous" is certainly better than starting with "You forgot to put on your make-up today". By offering positive reinforcement, you are not only making the person feel good about herself but you are taking the small extra effort to actually show the person that you care about how she feels. She may come back with "I do not have my make-up on" to which you can respond with "You still look good". But when you say "I could not even tell you did not have make-up on" or "You look like you have make-up on", you've crossed over to the excess insincere praise.

In terms of bridging relationship gaps, a little flattery goes a long, long way. Say you are the "hottest" woman in your workplace or even at a party, taking the time to shake hands with the office boy or cleaner, or saying "hi" to the "geeky-looking" guy standing all by himself not only makes their day (they will be talking about it for days) but moves them away from feeling like a "nobody" in the eyes of society to "somebody" to those present (and to himself). Just by a simple gesture you show the person that you care about how they feel. Did I mention you'll be ever so "hotter!"

Having said that, I do not advocate using flattery to manipulate another's self-doubt or use their feelings of inferiority against them. Using flattery for personal gain has its own "come back to bite your ass" consequences. You can not get round using flattery to always get what you want without starting to feel empty, phony, lonely and depressed. You can never genuinely and deeply connect with others if you are manipulating their feelings.

Also keep in mind that flattery works for about 95 percent of people. Recognizing situations where flattery is appropriate is the secret of the art of flattery!