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Shady company tricks police to spread spyware

Have you ever heard of a program called ComputerCOP? It's a disc that gets handed out at events promoting Internet safety worldwide. Sadly, the truth behind this shadowy disc couldn't be further from a "citizen on patrol" for your PC.

In reality, ComputerCOP is just lazily-made spyware distributed by a New York company.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation identified 245 agencies in over 35 states that use this snoopware. Even worse, local police departments get their logo and names in front of the disc.

If this software is on your computer, you might even be a potential target for data thieves.

Little do they know, they're distributing an unsecured mess of a program that could hurt taxpayers more than it protects them. The program does what most spyware does: Logs all keystrokes, images and lets you "search" for phrases like drugs to find out if your child is looking them up.

The problem is that the software is so poorly made that it can't differentiate something that your child typed with something like computer code. It doesn't even detect Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, two of the most popular browsers in the world.

So if you want to protect your kid from danger online, all they would have to do to hide their activity from you would be to use a browser that you might already have installed in your home.

The worst and most dangerous part to taxpayers is the program's keylogger. Once installed, the keylogger lets you receive emailed reports of anything typed into the computer by your child or family member.

These reports are sent, unencrypted, to a third party server where they're eventually emailed to you. This means that if your email is hacked, a hacker can steal any information typed into your PC. That's risky.

While I don't think that snooping on what your kid is doing online is a bad thing, I believe that this is the wrong way to go about it.

Want to learn more about spyware and snooping online? Check these tips out:

 

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