I have become increasingly paranoid about people accessing my computer or personal information without my permission. I installed adaware on my computer a few months ago in order to get rid of programs that companies are using to spy on me and otherwise track my movements on the interweb. I removed a bunch of programs that I did not install on my computer and that were tracking me.
A little while later at Easter, I was at my inlaws house, and I noticed links on my blog, that I didn't put there, and my blog was giving them pop-up ads. Their copy of IE had been hijacked and was providing links in the pages that they happened to surf. Upon completing a search in google, the results would be return by some other web search tool. Anyway, I installed adaware on their computer and removed over 100 files that Adaware considers to be an intrusion of privacy or outright computer hijacking.
About three days ago, I read an article about spyware on Wired that said that to be sure that you have gotten rid of all the spyware on your computer you have to use more than one scanner to get rid of it. The two best are Adaware and Spybot S&D. I installed Spybot in addition to Adaware and Spybot deleted six more things on my computer.
Over the last month or so I notice that my internet connection seemed a lot more active that it should have been especially at times when I was not using the computer. During that time I read several articles that said that 95% of spam emails come from people's home computers that have been hacked. I suspected that this may have been happening to me, and so I installed a program called zonealarm which is a firewall, a piece of software that controls your connection to the internet, which of the software on your computer can access it, and who on the outside of your computer can access it. I installed it, and with in the first 30 minutes max, there were over 200 attempts from the internet to access my computer.
Today, I'm back at my inlaws house, and I noticed that their browser had been hijacked again, google giving popups and the search results coming back from another search engine, so I reinstalled adaware. It deleted 122 files. Spybot found an additional 67 files.
I don't know how they (spyware companies) can dare do that to people's computers. It makes surfing the internet unbearable.