As the name suggests, this is software that is designed to harvest your data and forward it to a third party without your consent or knowledge. The data collected is sent to the creator of the application or perhaps a third-party, and can be stored in a way that is recoverable at later time. Some spyware programs may monitor key presses ('keylogger'), collect confidential information (passwords, credit card numbers, PIN numbers, etc.), harvest e-mail addresses or track browsing habits. In addition to all of this, spyware inevitably affects your computer’s performance.
Adware, Pornware, and Riskware include legitimately developed programs that – in some circumstances – can be used to pose specific threats to computer users (including acting as spyware).
Although many of these programs are likely to have been developed and distributed by legitimate companies, they may include functions that some malware creators choose to use for malicious or illegal purposes.
Discover more about the risks and how Kaspersky Lab can defend you against them: