This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Demographics of Adware and Spyware




Sanyasi, Arumugam

Type of Degree



Computer Science and Software Engineering


The World Wide Web is the most popular use of the Internet. Information can be accessed from this network of web pages. Unknown to users, web pages can access their personal information and, sometimes, also provide information that the user has not asked for. Various kinds of software are used in the web pages. Web pages use Java, Perl scripts, XML, etc. There are additional software like adware and spyware being used. This software could be useful or threatening. Our interest lies in knowing which software being used presents a threat on the web. A user who is worried about his online privacy may be more interested in knowing what types of technology is being used on the web. Adware and spyware are types of software that are present in web pages unknown to the user. If they are present when a web page is accessed, they make use of the user’s Internet connection to track and send data and statistics via a server installed on the user's computer or the users’ client. Most of the legitimate adware and spyware companies disclose in their privacy statement the nature of data that is collected and transmitted; but there is no way a user can control the kind of data that is being sent. A study was conducted to determine the percentage of web pages that contained certain types of adware and spyware. It was found that 16% of web pages contained web bugs while 1% of web pages contained ActiveX objects.