Spyware is the new and mostly unknown evil that silently installs itself on your computer,
then tracks your every move and reports it to a central database where your personal
information is sold to the highest bidder. It is amazing how quickly spyware has become
almost de rigueur for most Windows computers these days and sadly most people don't even
know they installed this horrible crap on their system.
Not only does spyware live up to its name in reporting your actions to its creator, but
virtually every software install package that includes some spyware makes little or no
effort to inform the user that it will be adding some surreptitious and in my option
rather malevolent applications to your system.
If you use a Windows or a Mac PC and you've installed any applications that you've gotten
over the net in the past six months, especially those Napster P2P replacement, no matter
how careful you were during the installation process, you're probably infected with some
Fortunately, if you value your privacy and dislike such dishonest business practices,
there is something you can do about it. They are several spyware removal products that do
an excellent job in tracking down and removing of whatever version of spyware you have
The one I just used and can recommend is Ad-aware by Lavasoft. I'm usually very careful during software installs,
but sometimes, well, you know how it is, you have a beer or two or six or ten and the next
thing you know, you're hacking under the influence. Then you're surfing a site and you
just got to see the new 3-D boobies, but you need a new plug-in. So the next thing you,
know installing software all over your machine just to see some big mammary glands wiggle
back and forth.. We all do it... so don't try and deny it cause I won't believe you.
So I was pretty sure I had been inflected and yesterday, after running across a file I
didn't think belong in my WINNT subdirectory, I and grabbed Ad-aware and gave it a test run.
Ad-aware has numerous configuration options, searches both your hard drives and your
registry for all known spyware, has a command line interface, an auto search, a spyware
install block and lots of other cool features. It also has a handy dandy spyware removal
feature. After running Ad-aware, I was shocked to discover that I had not one, but three
spyware programs running on my machine. Serves me right for practice unsafe computer.
Anyways, Ad-aware cleaned up the mess and got rid of all the crap. I'm still probably
gonna have to do a reinstall at some point in the near future as it is possible that
Ad-aware miss stuff it doesn't know about. However, I do feel better knowing that at
least three spyware programs are no long running on my machine.