January 14, 2004 1:53 PM PST

EarthLink tool hunts down spyware

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EarthLink on Wednesday announced a spyware detection tool for Internet users.

The company's Spy Audit software is intended to ferret out unwelcome programs that take up surreptitious residence on a computer's hard drive, typically when someone downloads freeware or shareware but also through e-mail and instant messaging. Those programs keep track of a computer user's online activity and can be difficult to locate and remove.

Problems that arise from spyware's presence can range from the annoying--a barrage of pop-up ads--to the menacing, including the potential for data corruption and theft of personal information.

Spy Audit analyzes the contents of a hard drive and provides a report of spyware programs it finds. In October, EarthLink began offering its subscribers a free program called Spyware Blocker that it says provides protection against a number of hidden applications.

Last week, America Online said it plans to bundle anti-spyware programs into its upcoming AOL 9.0 Optimized software for both narrowband and broadband users.

"Spyware is a growing problem, and we are pleased that other (Internet service providers) are following our lead and recognizing the importance of implementing anti-spyware technologies," Rob Kaiser, vice president of narrowband marketing for EarthLink, said in a statement.

The 300KB Spy Audit program can be downloaded at no cost from EarthLink's Web site.

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I am very happy to see this software appear on line for earthlink subscribers. We need all the help we can get to stop this kind thing from happening.
Posted by Arrowmaker (1 comment )
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