A program which negatively affect's a user's control of their computer system or their browsing experience, usually without the user's consent or knowledge.
Once detected, the F-Secure security product will automatically disinfect the suspect file by either deleting it or renaming it.
When searching our Virus Descriptions database for a specific program (e.g., Spyware:W32/Example.A), you may be directed to this page if the overview below sufficiently describes the program. Alternatively, you may be directed to this page if no description matching that specific query is currently available. You can submit a sample of the suspect file to our Response Lab for further analysis via:
Spyware can vary widely in the kinds of actions they perform. Some common actions include displaying unsolicited pop-ups, hijacking a browser's home or search pages, redirecting browsing results and monitoring user activities. Spyware is sometimes considered a "gray" area in terms of ethics and legality. Depending on the specific action, context of use and applicable laws, spyware could be considered legal and acceptable; dubious but unlegislated; or outright illegal and unethical.
Examples of spyware include:
For more information, see Terminology: Spyware.