The most damaging Spyware
The world may lump all malware into the spyware category but Cindy talked about real spyware. This kind is far more dangerous then having tracking cookies, pop-ups or even losing your hard drive. Cindy has been working with victims and law enforcement to stop programs purchased to spy on ex-spouses, girl friends or many other unsuspecting victims of both sexes and all ages.
One widely distributed program encourages and empowers their customers to Email a greeting card to say I'm sorry or some other tricky animated greeting. If the victim opens the card, a powerful keylogger and/or remote control executable would be installed in stealth mode on the computer. The stalker could have complete control and full knowledge of the victims computer activities. I can't adequately describe the horror I'm sure programs like this have caused.
The positive side of the story is we do have laws on the books that allow law enforcement to go after both the software publisher and the users. You may argue this kind of software has some well meaning security objectives. I can assure you, the software Cindy has seen isn't used that way, nor is it marketed for any legitimate purposes.
Special thanks to Mitch Dembin, Assistant U.S. Attorney in San Diego for his efforts and for providing us with very entertaining lessons on how we could help using current laws. If you feel you might be in danger I would encourage you to read more at http://www.nnedv.org/default.asp?Page=17
Photos, including Suzi and Paperghost :)