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What is Spyware?

Spyware is usually advertising software that gets installed on your computer without your knowledge. Companies use it to pop up ads on your computer, track your Internet usage, and gather other personal information about you. These programs are usually not written very well and tend to cause a lot of problems.

Besides invading your privacy, these programs often cause problems with Internet Explorer and other web browsers. If you have a lot of spyware on your computer, chances are that one of these programs has affected your Internet browsing capabilities.

Common Symptoms of Spyware

If your computer is experiencing any of the following symptoms, you might have spyware:

  • Difficulty logging into secure web sites like ICON and MyUI
  • Random advertisements that pop up on your computer
  • Unusual slowness of your system
  • Unusual instability in your system (computer crashes more than usual)
  • Odd behavior in Internet Explorer or other browsers, such as redirection to search sites that you've never seen, or your homepage has been switched to a different page.

Major Sources of Spyware

The following programs are either spyware themselves or spyware is installed along with the program.

  • Bit Torrent
  • KaZaa
  • Weather Bug
  • DiVx Bundle
  • Gator
  • Morpheus
  • Bearshare
  • Most web search toolbars (except the Google toolbar)
  • Most pop-up blocking software (except the Google toolbar or built in pop-up blockers in browsers)
  • Download accelerators or managers
  • Pornography web sites and related programs

There are many other sources of spyware. We recommend only installing programs from reputable companies and only if the software is necessary. If a web site asks to install software on your computer, always click "no" unless you know specifically what it does.

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