Sneaky software hijacks more browsers

Tuesday, 6 May 2003, 10:29 AM EST

Patrick Ewalt still fumes about being hijacked on the Internet. Last fall, he clicked on a pop-up ad and got diverted to the ad's Web site, which then implanted itself as the first page to appear whenever Ewalt started his Web browser.

It took Ewalt, a clerk from Atlanta, several hours to excise the interloper from his personal computer — and the site has since tried to usurp his browser four times. It is "extremely intrusive," he says.

A swelling throng of Internet users such as Ewalt are being victimized by so-called spyware — software that gets installed over the Web without the user's awareness of what it does.

Spyware can herd users to porn and gambling Web pages, track where users go on the Internet, trigger a deluge of pop-up ads and slow PC performance.

[ Read more ]

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