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 Dec 02, 2004 - 02:04 PM - by Michael
* On Spyware and Removers

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PC Games/Hardware/Microsoft
IDC's got a story stating that spyware-removal is big business, to the tune of multiple millions of dollars.

Indeed:

From a minor annoyance for home-PC users to a major plight on enterprise environments around the world, SpyWare (also known as AdWare, MalWare, ScumWare, and a host of other sordid names) is infecting millions of computers with multiple purposes: stealing personal information, enabling identity theft, tracking users' online activity, and selling the information back to anyone willing to pay. According to new research from IDC, the need to identify and eradicate these parasitic programs will drive AntiSpyWare software revenues from $12 million in 2003 to $305 million in 2008.

Although not always malicious in nature, SpyWare still causes significant damage to legitimate software, network performance, and employee productivity. Moreover, it crosses the boundary between security and system management by deluging Help Desks with a siege of employee complaints about pop-up advertisements, applications failures, and poor PC performance.
Meanwhile, PC World's got an article all about it in their December issue: in Poor Defenders, Andrew Brandt goes over a lot of the commercial products, and concludes that the freeware products likeSpybot and Ad-Aware work far better.

To wit:
Should you buy these products? Based on our tests, our opinion is no. Following complaints from several PC World readers, we tested seven heavily advertised spyware-removal tools-- MyNetProtector, NoAdware, PAL Spyware Remover, SpyAssault, SpyBlocs, Spyware Stormer, and XoftSpy--and found that none were as effective as reputable free products such as Spybot Search & Destroy. A couple even installed new spyware.
Scary...
 

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