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SUMMARY - Please do NOT download or install any freeware or software.  If it is specifically related to your job duties, we request that you call the OIT Help Desk and request assistance first!

Spyware, Scumware, Adware,
Malware, Parasitic, Prohibited,
and Undesirable Software

This page was developed to provide definitions and information on the types of software that may have been installed on the workstation in your office. In addition, a list of prohibited and undesirable software, as referred to in the memo by Dr. Stanton on January 17, 2002, is posted.

Spyware - There is considerable debate, even among the experts, on what exactly constitutes Spyware.  One characteristic in common is the ability of these types of programs or technology to gather information about a person or organization without their knowledge.  It can get onto a workstation through a virus or through the installation of a program.  If you install a program and agree to the EULA (End User Licensing Agreements), this would not necessarily be considered Spyware since you agreed to the EULA in order for the program to install itself on the workstation. Most people will not read through a lengthy EULA, particularly when it is full of legal-sounding terms - they will just click Next or OK to get the program quickly installed.

Be very careful of shareware or freeware, know exactly what type of information it intends to gather about you, the web sites you visit and the ad banners you click on, as well as what they intend to do with that information and who they intend to share it with!  Some common examples of software that may be considered Spyware include Gator, DoubleClick, Yo Mama, Osama (game), Aureate Media, Hotbar, Comet Cursor, Conducent Timesink, Cydoor, Flashpoint/Flashtrack, GoHip, Mattel Brodcast, SongSpy, Web3000, WebHancer, and RadLight. For more information, visit http://netsecurity.about.com/

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Scumware - Scumware most often will disguise itself as Adware, when in actuality, it can track what you are doing on the web, and even alter the contents of a web page without your knowledge, or the knowledge of the site's owner!  Common scumware programs include OfferCompanion (it comes installed with Gator, you just aren't informed), EZula, TopText, Surf+, and others.

For more information and updates, visit http://www.scumware.com.

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Adware - As defined at http://whatis.techtarget.com, Adware is "any software application in which advertising banners are displayed while the program is running. The authors of these applications include additional code that delivers the ads, which can be viewed through pop-up windows or through a bar that appears on a computer screen. The justification for adware is that it "helps recover programming development cost and helps to hold down the cost for the user."  In addition, some Adware programs will send personal information to third parties without the user's knowledge or consent (see Scumware).  Some of the more common programs are BonziBuddy and Tsadbot.

For more information, click here: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,289893,sid9_gci521293,00.html

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Malware - Malware (malicious software) is any program or file that will alter or delete files on the hard drive of a workstation.  It is developed for the purpose of doing harm.  Included in this category are viruses, Trojan horses, and Trojan worms.

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Parasitic Software - Most often, this software is installed via freeware without the user's knowledge, it latches itself onto the web browser.  It can cause numerous, annoying, pop-up banner ad windows, report what you do online back to marketing companies, leave security holes in the system, add advertising links to web pages, cause system degradation, use enormous amounts of bandwidth, and cause system errors.  Most often, virus scanning software will not detect this type of program, they are technically Trojans and not viruses.

Many of the parasitic programs identified by OIT so far are bundled with other freeware programs.  We have made every attempt to identify these freeware programs and block them through the firewall.

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Prohibited Software - Any form of pornography is prohibited on campus computers.  Policies have been written for the exact procedures to implement when pornography is identified. (See Enforcement of this Policy (Employees) at http://www.etsu.edu/humanres/ppp/PPP-44.htm. Child pornography is a federal offense.  Anyone with knowledge of child pornography on any campus computer is legally obligated to report it to the proper authorities.

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Undesirable Software -  There are certain programs, mostly likely available as freeware or shareware, that have proven to be "bandwidth suckers", that is, they will use the workstation as a peer-to-peer server for webcasting, therefore using huge amounts of campus bandwidth.  When this happens, the network slows down for everyone on campus.  Normally, these programs will show as spikes on the bandwidth management program and may send alerts.  In the cases that OIT has investigated, the user was totally unaware of what was occurring.  As usual, be very careful of what you are downloading and installing on the computers in your department. Some of the peer-to-peer sharing programs identified and disabled through the campus firewall are Napster, Morpheus, KaZaA, Radlight, MarketScore, and Chaincast. In addition, the OIT Code of Ethics prohibits the intentional use of viruses for the purpose of infecting any campus computer.  Please review the Code of Ethics at this time.

Normally, these programs will show as spikes on the bandwidth management program and may send alerts. Some have been identified and blocked at the firewall.  However, more are developed and released everyday, so an extensive, up-to-date list is virtually impossible to maintain.

We request that you NOT install HotBar on your computer!  If you already have it, please uninstall it now.

ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Instant Messenger and any other instant messaging programs should not be used.

In addition, there are programs that send continuous packets across the network, once again, slowing things down and using bandwidth unnecessarily.  The most popular ones OIT has encountered include WebShots, and any of the stock-ticker update programs.  We request that you uninstall any of these applications from the workstation in your office.

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There are tools to help you identify and remove some of these applications.  Although OIT cannot promote any, you are free to visit the web sites and use any removal tools that are available free of charge.  Please see:

Pest Scan from Pest Patrol™: http://www.pestscan.com/ScanOrTrial.asp
SpyBot Search & Destroy: http://beam.to/spybotsd
Ad-Aware: http://www.lavasoft.de
PC Tools' SpyWare Doctor: http://www.pctools.com/spyware-doctor/?ref=trial_google

Also visit:

http://www.spywareremoversreview.com/
http://antivirus.about.com/od/spywareandadware/

Some of the information on this page is a compilation from several reputable sites on the Internet. If you have comments, questions, or concerns about the information you find here, please contact the OIT Help Desk by phone (x94648, on campus, or (423) 439-4648 if you are calling from off campus) or send email to oithelp@etsu.edu

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last updated 06/24/04