Alternatively referred to as malware, sneakware, or spyware, adware is a program installed without a user’s consent or knowledge during the install of another program. Much like spyware, adware tracks individuals Internet activities and habits to help companies advertise more efficiently.Â
Adware is usually installed on a computer with free programs because the developers are often paid if they include it with their program. Like spyware, adware can be located and removed from a computer using software utilities available on the Internet.
Baitware is a freely available software utility with very limited functionality. Often poorly coded, baitware allows a software developer to release a limited software version to lure target users into buying the full software version.
Baitware is a type of freeware, shareware or liteware with much lower quality and functionality than its full software counterpart. As with other types of freeware, vendors and developers target and “bait” end users with baitware versions of software. After downloading, installing and using the baitware version, the user is enticed into purchasing the paid version.
Baitware is also used by email spammers that distribute free software in exchange for email addresses.
Betaware is a program or application that is still in the development and testing phase of software development, one of the stages that occurs before final release. Betaware is a pre-release software or application given to a selected group of users so that they can try it under real conditions before the formal release to the public. These beta versions have undergone alpha testing and almost look like the final product, yet as the testing progresses and bugs are found, changes are made. This helps to make the final release version bug-free. A betaware program may also be called a beta version.
Betaware will usually have more bugs in it than the completed version especially with regards to its performance and feature set. The purpose of beta testing is to reduce the negative impact of any bugs on final users. Beta releases can be categorized into open beta and closed beta. Open beta makes use of a group of people who are interested in participating in the beta test while closed beta is comprised of a selected or restricted group of users who are chosen per invite. These beta testers recommend additional features that they think should be included in the final version and also report any bugs they find in the betaware.
Bundleware is a term used to collectively describe one or more software that comes in bundles as extra. This isn’t necessarily malicious.
Bundleware that are dodgy at best have a few types:
Programs that are considered adware and PUPs. These may or may not offer users the option to opt out of the extra programs.
Programs that are useful but nobody wants to pay for their functionality, so the developer enters some monetization program that incorporates adware into his/her program.
PUPs that offer to install other PUPs from the same manufacturer during the installation.
Programs that also install software packages they need to run on the affected system.
Malwarebytes detects these types.
Crapware (also known as “bloatware” or “junkware”) is the stuff that hardware makers install onto their devices on top of the operating system. While some of it might be vaguely useful stuff (I’m trying hard to think of an example of useful crapware, and I’m failing miserably), most of it is nothing more than a blizzard of free trials and demos that nag you into buying the full version. At best this crapware is benign, while at worst it can dramatically slow down system performance or even compromises system security.
Freeware is software, most often proprietary, that is distributed at no monetary cost to the end user. There is no agreed-upon set of rights, license, or EULA that defines freeware unambiguously; every publisher defines its own rules for the freeware it offers. For instance, modification, redistribution by third parties, and reverse engineering without the author’s permission are permitted by some publishers but prohibited by others.
Unlike with free and open-source software, which are also often distributed free of charge, the source code for freeware is typically not made available. Freeware may be intended to benefit its producer by, for example, encouraging sales of a more capable version, as in the freemium and shareware business models.
Freemium, a portmanteau of the words “free” and “premium”, is a pricing strategy by which a product or service is provided free of charge, but money (a premium) is charged for additional features, services, or virtual (online) or physical (offline) goods that expand the functionality of the free version of the software. This business model has been used in the software industry since the 1980s. A subset of this model used by the video game industry is called free-to-play.
The business model has been in use for software since the 1980s. This is often in a time-limited or feature-limited version to promote a paid-for full version. The model is particularly suited to software as the cost of distribution is negligible. Thus little is lost by giving away free software licenses as long as significant cannibalization is avoided. The term freemium to describe this model appears to have been created only much later, in response to a 2006 blog post by venture capitalist Fred Wilson summarizing the model:
Give your service away for free, possibly ad supported but maybe not, acquire a lot of customers very efficiently through word of mouth, referral networks, organic search marketing, etc., then offer premium priced value added services or an enhanced version of your service to your customer base.
Shareware is a type of proprietary software which is initially provided free of charge to users, who are allowed and encouraged to make and share copies of the program. Shareware is often offered as a download from a website or on a compact disc included with a magazine.Shareware differs from open-source software, in which the source code is available for anyone to inspect and alter; and freeware, which is software distributed at no cost to the user but without source code being made available.
There are many types of shareware, and while they may not require an initial up-front payment, many are intended to generate revenue in one way or another. Some limit use to personal non-commercial purposes only, with purchase of a license required for use in a business enterprise. The software itself may be limited in functionality or be time-limited, or it may remind the user that payment would be appreciated.
Software distributed on the basis of an honor system. Most shareware is delivered free of charge, but the author usually requests that you pay a small fee if you like the program and use it regularly. By sending the small fee, you become registered with the producer so that you can receive service assistance and updates. You can copy shareware and pass it along to friends and colleagues, but they too are expected to pay a fee if they use the product.
Shareware is inexpensive because it is usually produced by a single programmer and is offered directly to customers. Thus, there are practically no packaging or advertising expenses.
Note that shareware differs from public-domain software in that shareware is copyrighted. This means that you cannot sell a shareware product as your own.
Liteware is a term for software that is distributed freely in a version having less capability than the full for-sale…
Liteware provides the same visual interface, icons and components of its full software counterpart. Depending on the developer or vendor, certain features may be disabled, unavailable or partially available to users. Liteware may have limited developer/vendor updates and support. Like trial software, liteware generally does not have an expiration date.
Although limited and incomplete, liteware is designed to provide sufficient functionality for full evaluation by a user prior to purchase. Once a user purchases the full version, liteware may be upgraded, unlocked or replaced by the newer version(s).
Trialware commonly has a built-in time limit. The user can try out the fully featured program until the trial period is up, and then most trialware reverts to a reduced-functionality (freemium, nagware, or crippleware) or non-functional mode, unless the user pays the license fee and receives a registration code to unlock the program. Trialware has become the norm for online Software as a Service (SaaS).
The rationale behind trialware is to give potential users the opportunity to try out the program to judge its usefulness before purchasing a license. According to industry research firm Softletter, 66% of online companies surveyed had free-trial-to-paying-customer conversion rates of 25% or less. SaaS providers employ a wide range of strategies to nurture leads, and convert them into paying customers.
Nagware / begware, annoyware or a nagscreen
Nagware (also known as begware, annoyware or a nagscreen) is a pejorative term for shareware that persistently reminds the user to purchase a license.
It usually does this by popping up a message when the user starts the program, or intermittently while the user is using the application. These messages can appear as windows obscuring part of the screen, or as message boxes that can quickly be closed. Some nagware keeps the message up for a certain time period, forcing the user to wait to continue to use the program. Unlicensed programs that support printing may superimpose a watermark on the printed output, typically stating that the output was produced by an unlicensed copy.
Some titles display a dialog box with payment information and a message that paying will remove the notice, which is usually displayed either upon startup or after an interval while the application is running. These notices are designed to annoy the user into paying.
The term “bloatware” may be applied to software that has become bloated through inefficiency or accretion of features as outlined above. The term also commonly refers to software preinstalled on a device, usually by the hardware manufacturer, that is mostly unwanted by the purchaser. For example, the preinstalled software which took up 45% of the Samsung Galaxy S4’s 16-gigabyte storage.
The term may also be applied to the accumulation of unwanted and unused software elements that remain after partial and incomplete uninstallation. These elements may include whole programs, libraries, associated configuration information, or other data. Performance may deteriorate overall as a result of such leavings, as the unwanted software or software components can occupy memory, waste processing time, add disk I/O, consume storage and cause delays at system startup and shutdown. In the worst cases, the leftover software may interfere with the correct operation of wanted software.
Bloatware can be easily removed if the user has root access on his or her smartphone, though the rooting process has its own advantages and disadvantages, such as voiding the manufacturer’s warranty, and that certain software refuses to run on rooted devices
Crippleware has been defined in realms of both computer software and hardware. In software, crippleware means that “vital features of the program such as printing or the ability to save files are disabled until the user purchases a registration key”. While crippleware allows consumers to see the software before they buy, they are unable to test its complete functionality because of the disabled functions. Hardware crippleware is “a hardware device that has not been designed to its full capability”. The functionality of the hardware device is limited to encourage consumers to pay for a more expensive upgraded version. Usually the hardware device considered to be crippleware can be upgraded to better or its full potential by way of a trivial change, such as removing a jumper wire. The manufacturer would most likely release the crippleware as a low-end or economy version of their product
Malware / Ransomware
Malware (a portmanteau for malicious software) is any software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, client, or computer network (by contrast, software that causes unintentional harm due to some deficiency is typically described as a software bug). A wide variety of types of malware exist, including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, and scareware.
Programs are also considered malware if they secretly act against the interests of the computer user. For example, at one point Sony music Compact discs silently installed a rootkit on purchasers’ computers with the intention of preventing illicit copying, but which also reported on users’ listening habits, and unintentionally created extra security vulnerabilities
Middleware is a software layer situated between applications and
operating systems. Middleware is typically used in distributed systems where it simplifies software development by doing the following:
Hides the intricacies of distributed applications
Hides the heterogeneity of hardware, operating systems and protocols
Provides uniform and high-level interfaces used to make interoperable, reusable and portable applications
Provides a set of common services that minimizes duplication of efforts and enhances collaboration between applications
Middleware is similar to an operating system because it can support other application programs, provide controlled interaction, prevent interference between computations and facilitate interaction between computations on different computers via network communication services.
A typical operating system provides an application programming interface (API) for programs to utilize underlying hardware features. Middleware, however, provides an API for utilizing underlying operating system features.
Spyware is a term used to describe a program designed to gather information about a user’s activity secretly. Spyware programs are often used to track users’ habits to target them with advertisements better. Spyware is usually installed on a user’s machine without their knowledge when a link is followed (intentionally or unintentionally) which redirects the user to a malicious website.
Shelfware is a term given to software that has been purchased but never used. Typically, software becomes shelfware when a user buys it on a whim because of a great discount or for future need but does not use or install that software.
Shelfware is not a derogatory term and may apply to any software, even those that are widely popular and used. Software becomes shelfware depending on the user and not on the software itself, but in the case of shovelware and bloatware, it also often becomes shelfware because there is often no need or desire to use the product. As a result, the shelfware stays on the shelves or devices without being used.
One major reason software becomes shelfware is when companies license more software than they actually need because of a good discount. For example, if a piece of software costs $100 per copy but would only cost $45 if 100 copies were purchased, then a company may buy 100 copies, even if it only has 50 employees. In this case, if they have bought 50 copies at $100, they’ll pay $5,000, but if they buy 100 copies at $45 each, they only spend $4,500, which is still cheaper. There also are a great number of copies that can be used in the future if the number of users increases. In the meantime, the other 50 copies become shelfware.
Shovelware is a derogatory term used for software that has either been quickly developed without regard to quality or function and features, or software that has been forced on customers such as those that are preloaded on laptops or smartphones by their respective carriers.
Shovelware refers to low-quality software that falls into three categories:
It’s Quickly Developed: These are meant to be developed fast. There is often no regard to function or usefulness and the goal of the testing may be simply that the software works most of the time. This mostly applies to games that are developed for consoles or the Web.
It’s Forced Onto Customers: Preloaded software on laptops and carrier-distributed phones tend to come with shovelware. It’s also called “bloatware” because it just serves to slow down the device and take up valuable storage space. Some of these programs cannot be removed from the device. Other examples are those that install with other software Web browser bars.
It’s Filler: In the days when software usually came in CD and DVD ROMs, shovelware was meant to fill the rest of the space on the disk.
Scareware is a deceptive process designed to trick Web users into downloading and/or purchasing malicious software (malware) by generating user disruption, anxiety or panic. Scareware formats include malware, adware, spyware, Trojans and viruses.
Scareware is also known as SmitFraud, crimeware, fake anti-virus, rogue anti-virus, rogue security and rogueware.
Scareware generates pop-ups that look like Microsoft Windows system warnings and alerts for anti-virus/anti-spyware software, registry cleaners or firewalls. These deceptive pop-ups create a user call to action to purchase scareware and repair alleged errors.
Scareware may include a clickjacking feature to redirect a user to an attacker’s website or initiate a malware download if a user tries to close the pop-up. Scareware also coerces users into uninstalling legitimate anti-virus software. If a suspicious pop-up appears, the user is advised to right click on the taskbar item and select close, or exit the browser by selecting Ctrl-Alt-Del to terminate the browser process.
Scareware infects users and their computers via any of the following methods:
Email scams masked as breaking news alerts or greeting cards
Ads providing free scans or system clean-ups and displaying a long list of unknown threats to generate user fear
Affected websites retrofitted to take advantage of software vulnerabilities
Crimeware is any computer program designed for the express purpose of conducting malicious and illegal activities online. Although adware, spyware and malware can all be used to conduct illegal activity, crimeware refers to programs that are meant to automate the theft of information, allowing the thief to gain access to a person’s financial accounts online.
The term was coined by Peter Cassidy, the Secretary General of the Anti-Phishing Group.
Criminals employ a variety of methods to steal information through crimeware, including:
Crimeware can redirect a user’s Web browser to a counterfeit website controlled by the thief.
Crimeware can enable remote access of applications, allowing criminals to break into networks.
Crimeware can be used to steal passwords cached on a user’s system.
Crimeware can install keystroke loggers to collect data, such as password and login information for online bank accounts.
Stalkerware is a general term used to describe software applications that are specifically designed to track individuals while hiding from view. Many stalkerware applications market themselves as parental monitoring tools, but they can be and often are used to stalk and spy on a person.
The most common users of stalkerware are domestic violence abusers, who load these programs onto their partner’s computer or mobile device without their knowledge.
Synonyms: spyware, commercial surveillance software, commercial spyware, spouseware
Trackware is a type of program used to gather system information and/or user activity from computing devices, and then send the information to third-party entity.
Greyware is a classification of software that generally does annoying, disruptive, or undesirable tasks but not to the point of being malicious.
Other forms: Grayware
In computer slang, it is a non-existent hardware or software that is publicly announced and actively promoted.
A vaporware announcement may be a marketing strategy to gauge user interests in a particular product.
Riskware, or “risky software,” describes legitimate software programs that contain loopholes or vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers for malicious purposes.
Crudware is a type of freeware and software marketing tactic in which large quantities of beta, trial, freeware or limited software versions are freely distributed or promoted on websites, social networks and related online communities. Crudware is used to lure and motivate prospective customers into purchasing a complete or paid version of software, or even malware.
Because crudware is used to trick a user into installing software, it is often criticized as malware or useless software. Typically, crudware is highly publicized or promoted through the Internet via online communities and discussion forums, where a user may write blog posts, share catchy signatures, post advertisements or participate in other attention seeking activities. Once a crudware application is executed and installed, a user is forced into buying the complete version to access application features.
Crudware also may be distributed at events or gatherings to promote one or more new software products.
Slimeware is slang term used to describe harmful adware that threatens computer security under the guise of software updates. Slimeware often automatically downloads more adware without user intervention or knowledge. This slows down the PC as resources are used by the slimeware and also exposes the user to security threats.
Online advertisers that use slimeware are often considered anti-spyware circumvention experts. To prevent and combat slimeware, common sense applies — experts recommend downloading and using anti-spyware applications along with standard anti-virus software.
Fatware is a somewhat derisive term for any software program or product that is seen as being inefficient or prone to taking up excessive amounts of resources in a computing hardware environment. The idea behind fatware, which is also sometimes called bloatware, is that a device has a limited amount of memory and computing capacity, and these resources should not be wasted by inefficient software design.
Those considering the footprint of a piece of software often look at how much random access memory (RAM) the program uses. RAM is dynamic memory that programs use in the computer during a given session. A program that hogs too much RAM can have a negative impact on the device’s overall capacity, causing the operating system to slow down or even crash. Users can also look at how much disk space a program takes up, and how much processor power it requires.
In general, fatware can be inefficient because of extra features that don’t provide a lot of benefit for users, or because of inefficient coding or general operating design.
Hijackware is a type of malicious software that infects an Internet browser in order to display advertising and/or redirect the user to malicious or spammy websites. Hijackware takes control of a browser’s settings to redirect the user to websites that are written by default into the hijackware’s code.
Hijackware is also known as browser hijacking.
Hijackware is a type of malware that only affects the Internet browser and its settings. This malware typically changes a user’s preferred browser configurations, which may include changing the user’s default homepage, adding a different default search engine, modifying bookmarks to add a malicious or undesired website and inserting browser tool bars. In most scenarios, hijackware comes as a bundled application that’s hidden within a freeware browser application or add-on. Once the user installs the primary application, the hijackware is activated along with it.