spyware

[spahy-wair]
noun
1.
Computers. software that is installed surreptitiously and gathers information about an Internet user's browsing habits, intercepts the user's personal data, etc., transmitting this information to a third party: a parent's use of spyware to monitor a child's online activities.
2.
tools that are used to conduct espionage: The nation's sophisticated spyware rivals that of the CIA.

Origin:
spy + -ware

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
spyware (ˈspaɪˌwɛə)
 
n
computing software installed via the internet on a computer without the user's knowledge and used to send information about the user to another computer

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Main Entry:  spyware
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  any software that covertly gathers information about a user while he/she navigates the Internet and transmits the information to an individual or company that uses it for marketing or other purposes
Usage:  computing
Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014 Dictionary.com, LLC
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

spyware definition

software
(Or "adware") Any type of software that transmits information without the user's knowledge.
Information is sent via the Internet to a server somewhere, normally as a hidden side effect of using a program. Gathering this information may benefit the user indirectly, e.g. by helping to improve the software he is using. It may be collected for advertising purposes or, worst of all, to steal security information such as passwords to online accounts or credit card details.
Spyware may be installed along with other software or as the result of a virus infection. There are many tools available to locate and remove various forms of spyware from a computer.
Some HTTP cookies could be considered as spyware as their use is generally not made explicit to users. It is however possible to disallow them, either totally or individually, and some are actually useful, e.g. recording the fact that a user has logged in.
(http://spychecker.com/spyware.html).
(2004-05-23)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
That's where a cyber attacker inserts a virus or spyware into your search
  results.
The only way they can accomplish this is by installing spyware on people's
  accounts.
Unfortunately, they're also great at spreading spam and spyware.
It helps keep the system clean of viruses and spyware.
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