"Spyware" is a software program installed on your computer -- usually without your explicit approval -- that transmits personal information across the internet to companies without your knowledge or consent. Companies use this information in a number of ways including, but not limited to, accumulating marketing data, resale to others, compiling mailing lists for unsolicited email ("Spam") and tracking the web sites that users visit. Most people would not choose to knowingly install spyware on their computers, but companies often "piggyback" the programs with other popular software such as file sharing applications. A few programs allow you to choose to install the spyware, but most simply install it and hide the fact that they do so in the extraordinarily detailed End-User License Agreement (EULA) that the vast majority of people simply click "Accept" without reading the fine print.

Why is spyware so bad?
In addition to sending information about you and your web browsing habits to companies, spyware uses up finite network bandwidth and system resources to do so, often causes performance problems, conflicts with other software, network or OS functionality, and generally has purpose related no work, research, teaching or other university related business.

Identify and remove spyware from your computer:
Download and install SpyBot S&D, the truly free spyware removal utility.