The free programs (freeware) are very common on the Internet. Have you ever wondered why a company against all logic may decide to offer free software? What you get in return? Often, the answer is simple and terrifying at once: your personal data.
More and more users have their computer connected to the network, even permanently, thanks to flat-rate ADSL and cable, in this way many companies choose to distribute their products free of charge and service charge spying on user activity.
Whenever you install a program on your computer, it will have access to all system resources: can read anywhere in the hard disk, record every keystroke made by the user or it can keep track of each program and opened document. The programs that track information about browsing habits of the Internet users, can perform all or any of the previous activities stealthily without anyone noticing it.
One of the first known cases of spyware was the Aureate / Radiate, operating in conjunction with programs that included advertising for funding, what is known as adware software distribution. The user does not pay to use the program, but must endure the presence of banners.
The user could not imagine that the program did not only download the banners, but also send information back to Aureate about his Internet activity.
Of course that Aureate / Radiate is not the only company stuck in this business. Other programs like Aureate / Radiate that you can find on your computer are Webhancer, Customer Companion, leading / Timesink, Cydoor, Comet Cursor or Web3000.
If you wonder whether a particular software program hides or not programs that can collect your information, see Spy checker database. What the Internet users don't know is that, silently between racks, some bars also record every page you visit, every form you fill out, without distinguishing whether there are encrypted pages or not.
The next time you download a program without being charged for it, think that maybe is not as free as it is advertised. Your personal information may assume the price you pay for it.