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Dangers of "Remote Spyware"
Know what you are dealing with when in comes to dangerous "trojan-style"
The Dangers of "Remote Spyware"
In the past, concerned parents and users have
used Spyware or 'Snoopware' to monitor their children’s online activities.
While we adamantly oppose the use of spyware on unsuspecting users, we can
certainly understand the desire to legitimately monitor children’s activity to
ensure their safety from on-line predators.
Unfortunately, spyware vendors, in the urge to
produce more feature packed products and stay competitive, are launching and
selling a new breed of spyware that can readily be abused by unscrupulous people
and/or cyber criminals.
These Spyware packages promise “remote
installation” or the ability to install a spy software package without having
to have physical access to the target machine. While difficult, this is possible
and opens up a Pandora’s Box of security threats. It doesn’t take much
imagination to see how cyberstalkers could use commercially available Spyware
products to penetrate an unsuspecting child’s machine and easily gather ALL
information being typed, passed or sent through that machine. This is especially
dangerous if a parent and child are sharing the same machine.
Further compounding this threat is the poor
security implementation of some commercial remote monitoring packages. We have
identified several spyware programs that open a default communication port on
the target system and use a hard-coded or default, easy to guess or easy to
brute force password. Hackers can use simple port scanning tools to scan entire
networks and easily find and penetrate affected machines.
In these cases well-meaning parents who have
installed remote monitoring security solutions have opened their children up to
potentially greater harm.
Tips for Parents:
-Software can never replace the need for having
a parent or guardian actively involved with what a minor is doing online. Just
as you would not turn a child loose in a big city alone, parents should never
send their children online unsupervised.
-If you must use monitoring software, be sure
the child knows the software is in place and why. It is better to be upfront and
honest about monitoring your children’s activity then potentially violating
someone’s trust- no matter how young they are.
- Do not use “remotely installed” spyware
or monitoring systems as you may be opening up your computer to scenarios where
attacks can be made by hackers or cybercriminals.
- Ensure that your child is not opening up
e-mail attachments or other unsafe files that might contain a Spyware payload.
You should make regular sweeps with both current anti-virus software and
anti-spy software to be sure a machine is not being monitored without your
- Educate your child on the potential dangers
of the Internet. The more they know the safer they will be.
Using Xcleaner to
detect these programs.
This article is copyright 2005