Potential Risks and Threats

The existence of spyware and other types of grayware on the network has the potential to introduce the following:

Table 1. Potential Risks and Threats

Risk or Threat


Reduced Endpoint Performance

To perform their tasks, spyware/grayware applications often require significant CPU and system memory resources.

Increased Web Browser-related Crashes

Certain types of grayware, such as adware, often display information in a browser frame or window. Depending on how the code in these applications interacts with system processes, grayware can sometimes cause browsers to crash or freeze and may even require the endpoint to restart.

Reduced User Efficiency

By needing to close frequently occurring pop-up advertisements and deal with the negative effects of joke programs, users become unnecessarily distracted from their main tasks.

Degradation of Network Bandwidth

Spyware/Grayware applications often regularly transmit the data they collect to other applications running on or outside the network.

Loss of Personal and Corporate Information

Not all data spyware/grayware applications collect is as innocuous as a list of websites users visit. Spyware/Grayware can also collect user credentials, such as those used to access online banking accounts and corporate networks.

Higher Risk of Legal Liability

If endpoint resources on the network are hijacked, hackers may be able to utilize agent computers to launch attacks or install spyware/grayware on computers outside the network. The participation of network resources in these types of activities could leave an organization legally liable to damages incurred by other parties.