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.
o PurtyScan – popup ads that trick users into installing by claiming to find and delete pornographic images.
o n-CASE – adware program that delivers targeted popup adds. This program is usually bundled with freeware.
o 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.
o CoolWebSearch – hijacks home page, Internet Explorer settings, and Web searches.
o Transponder – monitors sites visited and any data entered into online forms, and then delivers targeted ads.
o ISTbar/AUpdate – spyware posing as a toolbar. Has been reported to display porn, pop-ups, and to hijack homepage and Internet searches.
o KeenValue – an adware program that collects personal information and delivers advertisements.
o Internet Optimizer – hijacks error pages and redirects them to its own site.
o Perfect Keylogger – records all keystrokes (including personal information, passwords, etc), clicks and web sites visited.
o 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.