Top Ten Spyware and Adware Threats Identified

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On December 8, 2004 Webroot, an award winning anti-spyware solution provider, released a press release identifying the ten most significant emerging spyware and adware threats. Most of these you probably haven't heard of and a few may surprise you.

It is estimated that 9 out of 10 computers are infected with spyware, also known as, adware, scumware, malware and many others.

Here's the top 10.

? PurtyScan ? popup ads that trick users into installing by claiming to find and delete pornographic images.

? n-CASE - adware program that delivers targeted popup adds. This program is usually bundled with freeware.

? Gator - adware program that displays banner ads based on your Web surfing habits. This program is usually bundled with the Kazaa file-sharing program, as well as other free software programs.

? CoolWebSearch ? hijacks home page, Internet Explorer settings, and Web searches.

? Transponder - monitors sites visited and any data entered into online forms, and then delivers targeted ads.

? ISTbar/AUpdate ? spyware posing as a toolbar. Has been reported to display porn, pop-ups, and to hijack homepage and Internet searches.

? KeenValue ? an adware program that collects personal information and delivers advertisements.

? Internet Optimizer ? hijacks error pages and redirects them to its own site.

? Perfect Keylogger ? records all keystrokes (including personal information, passwords, etc), clicks and web sites visited.

? TIBS Dialer ? hijacks phone modem and redirects to pornography pay by the minute phone sites.

The following precautions are recommended in the fight against spyware: install Microsoft security patches, avoid downloading and using freeware; and disable ActiveX downloads in Internet Explorer. In addition, install at least one anti-spyware program, some experts actually recommend that you have two installed. For starters you can download one of the free spyware removal programs such as Spybot Search & Destroy or Ad-aware. There are also a few good anti-spyware programs on the market that proactively protect your computer (alert you before the spyware is installed). When purchasing an anti-spyware program you need to be sure it is from a reputable company as many of the anti-spyware programs available actually place spyware on your computer. They do this by offering a free scan, which places the spyware on your computer as it is scanning. Then they entice you to purchase the product to remove the spyware.

In conclusion, if you take a few precautions and install anti-spyware software on your system you should be well protected in the fight against spyware.

Lisa Smith is the webmaster of

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