A field of tweaking lacking in most tweak sites that I find to be of most importance is the removal of spyware from your computer. First of all spyware is the use of malicious code or scripts to harvest marketable information from your computers surfing habits, not unlike a virus spyware infects your computer and whether it causes harm or not monitors you with or without your permission. Spyware slows down all internet connectivity while it reports its findings back to its developers, takes up valuable hard disk space, and can cause high I/O activity, all of which they have not asked you to do or have compensated you in any way. Removal and monitoring of spyware can be done manually but I find it much easier to use software which has been built specifically for this task. The best I have found are listed with a description as follows:
- Ad-ware - www.lavasoftusa.com - removes most known spyware BHO Cop - http://download.cnet.com/downloads/0-3364664-100-5930345.html Monitors integrated Iexplorer plugins
- Adsheild - http://www.adshield.org/ Disables internet ads Common spyware;
Programs, makers and distributors are: Comet Cursor - One of the most common causers of pop-up ads. Gator -The first versions of Gator had as its official function the capability to remember its user’s passwords and such things. (Would you also give your cash card code to the guy selling hot-dogs beside the cash dispenser machine in order to help you remember the numbers?) Gator is a real abomination since A: the program covers other advertiser's ads with Gator's ads on web sites and B: some of its ads can be interpreted as being child pornography. One version of the program uses a security leak in ActiveX to install itself from web pages without your knowledge, behaviour suspiciously similar to the BadTrans virus. Real.com, Alexa, zBubbles -Check you’re "Tools" - menu in Internet Explorer, if you find an option that says "Show related links" or similar then Alexa is watching you. Alexa and zBubbles log searchstrings and addresses for pages you visit. Alexa comes with Internet Explorer if you do not explicitly deselect it. Aureate Cydoor - Bundled with amongst others the Opera-browser. Cydoor is quite possibly the creators behind the infamous "Clicktilluwin"-Trojan virus which was bundled with amongst others LimeWire. Doubleclick -Traces you mainly with cookies, check the Windows/Cookies-folder. DSSAgent EverAd Adware -Note: Not Ad Aware! VX2 Bonzi -Don't fall for cuteness. eZula, CuteFTP, Download Accelerator (DAP) -does not use popups though. Flashpoint / FlashTrack FileMix Surf+ Spedia FastTrack Expedioware GoHip (Windows Startup) -Messes up Internet Explorer, changes your start up page and AutoSignature. Attaches spam which you have no control over to all E-mail messages you send. Flyswat, Hotbar, KaZaA and TopText - Alters things you see on the Internet, adds yellow links to the text on other people's homepages. BearShare, Newdotnet, OnFlow, Timesink, Web3000 - Messes up important system files and covers other's ads. Like Gator another spreader of abusive pornography. Webhancer, LimeWire, Netscape 6 -It is not absolutely certain that this browser can be classified as spyware. But its behaviour is very suspect since the program acts as a server and when started tries to send information from your computer to someone on the net. Many of the programs which come with NS6 are though certainly spyware. This is tragic since Netscape earlier had the position as "The Good Guys" in relation to more commercial interests. Grokster Transponder, Blackstone, Back Orifice, BackDoor-G ,Wnad FTapp-BHO ...and many more. If you have any of these or similar suspected programs on your computer you should get rid of them right away!
Note from TweakXP.com Staff: All of these programs listed may contain spyware. We do not have the time to go and verify all of the statements made in this tweak. But without a doubt, there are a lot of spyware in software applications and it all depends on if you are willing to trade your privacy for a software program.