Many free downloads lurk in cyberspace. Unfortunately, a number of them are really spyware and adware in disguise. A preliminary step in spyware protection is to know which programs (even the ones that appear to be legitimate) are spyware or include spyware in their application. All the following have been reported to cross such lines:
Some examples of adware that plague your computer with pop-ups and targeted ads:
- BonziBuddy resets your homepage to bonzi.com
- DirectRevenue provides free screen savers bundled with adware.
- Ncase is bundled with file sharing programs and adds shortcuts to your Startup and Desktop.
- SaveNow tracks your browser habits and slows your PC.
Examples of spyware that require spyware protection:
- Aureate/Radiate is a Trojan that causes computer crashes and browser instability.
- Comet Cursor changes the look of your mouse cursor on screen and in return collects marketing data.
- DoubleClick compiles extremely personal profiles including phone numbers, addresses and IP addresses.
- Gator, Gator eWallet, and Gain fill in passwords, record buying information, present a security hazard and are nearly impossible to remove.
- HotBar lets you personalize your browser and email applications while it tracks all your Internet activity. Updates constantly, causing privacy concerns.
- New.net causes problems with connecting to the Internet.
- ShopAtHomeSelect tracks online shopping habits, slows down your PC and causes security risk.
- Xupiter records Web log information, IP addresses, browser information, screen resolution, time zones and software version numbers.
These programs hijack homepages and redirect Internet searches:
- CoolWebSearch is the most well-known browser hijacker and is difficult to remove.
- EUniverse slows down your Internet connection and hijacks Netscape searches and error pages.
- Xupiter is a toolbar that adds bookmarks.
Use spyware protection to block these programs that steal information:
- Back Orifice is a Trojan backdoor program that allows other users into your computer files, where they can steal and alter information.
- VX2 monitors your Internet activity and collects information from any form you fill out online. Also installs other programs without user consent and floods your PC with ads. Is difficult to remove.
- XXXDial is a dialer program that dials phone numbers through your computer modem; XXXDial calls adult phone chats, incurring huge telephone bills the user must pay.
Valid programs that contain spyware:
- Audiogalaxy contains VX2
- Grokster includes Gator
- iMesh includes SaveNow
- Kazaa contains Cydoor, Gator
- Morpheus denies spyware, but contains an adware WebSearch Toolbar ; an adware-free version is available for purchase
- DivX includes SaveNow