What it is
Spyware is the Internet jargon for any data collection program that secretly gathers information about you and relays it to advertisers and other interested parties. Adware usually displays banners or unwanted pop-up windows, but often includes spyware as well.
You can unknowingly install spyware when you install new software, most commonly freeware or shareware (e.g. LimeWire, BearShare, Kazaa, iMesh). Many of these programs are intended to track your Internet browsing habit, such as frequented sites and favorite downloads, and then provide advertising companies with marketing data.
Some spyware programs such as Gator, CommonName, and MarketScore, can adversely affect your computer's performance.
How to Remove It
Unfortunately, you cannot fully remove most spyware and adware programs by using the uninstall option in the Windows Add or Remove Programs control panel. To completely remove spyware from your computer, you must use a program designed for spyware & adware.
How to Avoid it It
Avoid applications that are known to carry spyware & adware. Spybot - Search & Destroy and Ad-Aware have identified the following as applications that may contain spyware or adware:
|AppleJuice||eDonkey2000||KaZaA & KaZaA Lite||OverNet|
These additional steps also help avoid spyware & adware:
- Avoid advertisements
- Avoid clicking links in instant messaging software
- Frequently scan your computer with spyware detection software (included w/most anti-virus suites)