Spyware Statement

Spyware and Adware

The terms spyware and adware generally refer to computer programs that hide themselves from a user and perform undesirable or even malicious commands without a user's knowledge or informed consent.

Spyware records a user's activities or keystrokes (including logins and passwords) and sends them to a third party, sometimes a hacker. On public computers, spyware may store keystrokes for later retrieval by the hacker. Some spyware programs may also record a user's web surfing history.

In the case of adware, users experience a stream of unexpected pop-up advertising. Adware has also been known to hijack a user's home page or preferred search engine and direct a user to alternate websites.

Spyware and adware can be surreptitiously installed on your PC in a number of ways:

  • It can piggyback on other software.
  • Disreputable websites can try to trick users into installing the applications by popping up installation dialog boxes. Users who click "Yes" or "Install" in haste get the spyware or adware installed.
  • Some spyware and adware relies on persuading uninformed users, especially children, to download and install it by offering some kind of bait, such as an animated character or a customized cursor set.
  • Other spyware can exploit security issues with Internet Explorer that may allow it to install itself without any warning or detection.

Anti-Spyware Initiative

Cars.com has signed the Anti-Spyware Initiative sponsored by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The initiative is a response to proposed legislation that targets spyware and adware. It seeks to give the internet industry a voice in the debate, so that legitimate, common marketing practices that are widely accepted as beneficial, such as the use of cookies to recognize user preferences, are not caught up in the effort to abolish spyware.

Other Resources

Last updated on 11/03/2010