Adware refers to programs that display advertising using any means: pop-ups, banners, changes to the browser home page or search page, etc. The advertisements could be associated with the products or services offered by the creator of the program or by third-parties.
Adware can be installed in a number of ways, on some occasions without users' consent, and either with or without users' knowledge of its function.
It affects productivity, preventing tasks from being carried out:
- In the affected computer:
it displays pop-up windows.
It reduces the security level of the computer:
it changes the security settings of Internet Explorer, decreasing its security level.
SpyAway accesses several websites to download files, which it then runs. These can be any type of file, although they are normally malware.
It uses several methods in order to avoid detection by antivirus companies:
- It terminates its own execution if it detects that it is being executed in a virtual machine environment, such as VMWare or VirtualPC.
- It prevents scanning tools from running, such as Windows Registry Editor, FileMonitor, etc.
- It terminates its own execution if it detects that a debugging program is active.
SpyAway does not spread automatically using its own means. It needs an attacking user's intervention in order to reach the affected computer. The means of transmission used include, among others, floppy disks, CD-ROMs, email messages with attached files, Internet downloads, FTP, IRC channels, peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing networks, etc.