You've heard the phrase "know thy enemy." Well, here are your most common spyware enemies (source:FaceTime Security Labs). Don't be fooled - spyware is not a game. It costs individuals and corporations millions of dollars each year. Spyware can be used to watch your surfing habits, steal credit card information, or just be a nuisance. In any case, it's a royal pain. Know they enemy.
1. Gator - Gator is installed by users as a password vault. That means that passwords can be recalled for you automatically when visiting sites. The trade-off for this service is that you have to endure pop-ups when visiting certain sites. Claria, the maker of Gator,has cleaned up its act a little by labeling the pop-up ads, but they're still annoying.
2. CoolWebSearch - This has got to be one of the most notorious browser hijackers out there. This is the name given to a program with many different variants that redirect users to coolwebsearch.com or datanotary.com. Uninstallation can be extremely complex. Users shouldn't try to manually remove this software.
3. 180SearchAssistant - This software either serves ads in pop-ups or pops up website windows based on your keyword searches. This software usually comes bundled with other "freebie" type software installs like emoticons or wallpaper. Newer versions of the software have an add/remove program uninstall item.
4. Huntbar - Now here's an annoying piece of software. Huntbar installs a toolbar onto internet explorer and windows explorer windows. It changes your home page and search page settings to point to their servers. If you use another search engine, Huntbar will redirect you to theirs. Great stuff. Oh, and it puts a 15% drain on memory resources.
5. Cydoor - This software usually comes with P2P software, ie. peer to peer. Again, it barrages you with a series of pop up advertisements. It also tracks usage information.
7. WhenU-DesktopBar - Displays advertising content. Monitors internet traffic, collects search profiles, and can execute code from a remote server using its update feature only. Relevant searches may cause it to display a special offer, coupon, or other advertising content. The adware may also display advertisements.
8. New.Net - New.Net is a company that sells domain names for "nonstandard" top-level domains. It should be removed pronto.
9. IEPlugin - As the name implies, it installs a toolbar in Internet Explorer. It tracks web site usage, form items (like names, addresses, etc. - ie. yikes!), and local filenames that are browsed. It's invasive - remove it.
10. BargainBuddy - Bargain Buddy used to be everywhere. It is distributed by BullzEye Network. And it sets up a Browser Helper Object (BHO) and monitors your computer usage. It then, you guessed it, pushes advertisements your way based on that usage.