Beware of Spyware and Adware
"Computer users should have the security of knowing
their privacy isn't being violated by software parasites that have secretly
burrowed into their hard drive."
--U.S. Senator Ron Wyden
On This Page:
What Is Spyware?
Spyware is surveillance software that is installed on a computer without
the user's knowledge. If it is on your computer, whoever controls the
spyware can gather information about you. You may not even know that spyware
is on your computer -- it's bundled with games, screensavers, and peer-to-peer
file-sharing programs including Bearshare, Kazaa, iMesh, Grockster, Limewire, and
This Spyware Process Map indicates the process for responding to spyware issues at the University of Michigan.
Why Is Spyware So Dangerous?
Spyware can compromise the security of your computer by collecting data
about the e-mail you send, the Web sites you visit, and the business you
conduct over the Internet.
- Keystrokes you enter in a browser window, which could include your
passwords, banking information, credit card numbers.
- Your Web-based e-mail - both message content and e-mail addresses.
- Web pages you access and all data on each Web page, such as data you
are authorized to view in Wolverine Access or your other accounts.
- Your instant message exchanges.
How to Keep Spyware Off Your Computer
Use these safe computing tips to keep spyware off your computer:
- Be cautious when you download games, screensavers, Internet accelerators,
or when you download or use peer-to-peer file-sharing programs. Many
of these programs come with spyware and other "third-party"
software included. Because spyware is bundled with unrelated software
such as the Imesh file sharing program, you may not realize that this
software is running on your machine.
- Open the following Web page in a browser. It will tell you whether
or not spyware is installed on the computer you are using:
- Install or upgrade to McAfee VirusScan 8 to remove spyware from a
Windows 2000 or XP computer. The U-M license agreement provides this
software at no cost to members of the U-M community. You can download
VirusScan 8 from the U-M
Virus Busters Web site.
- Install an antispyware and an antiadware program:
What to Do if Spyware Is on Your Computer
Use one of the following methods to remove spyware if it is already installed
on your computer:
Important! After you remove spyware, be sure to:
- Install Spybot-Search
& Destroy software. It can detect and remove many different
- If you have installed McAfee VirusScan version 8, you can go to the
Web site and use the instructions on how to use VirusScan 8 to remove
various types of spyware.
- Follow these steps to use Windows 'Add or Remove Programs,' to remove
- Click Start, select Settings, and open the Control
- Double-click Add or Remove Programs.
- Locate the spyware installation you want to remove, highlight
it, and click Change or Remove.
- Change all passwords that you use to access services or accounts.
Tips on choosing
a safe password.
- Check U-M's Identity Web
to learn how you can protect your identity.
- Use the safe computing tips in the preceding section, "How to
Keep Spyware Off Your Computer," to keep spyware off your computer.
U-M Resources if You Need Help With Spyware Removal
If you need help with spyware removal, contact the computer support staff
in your unit. In addition to this ITSS information about spyware, the
following U-M resources are available to help U-M students, faculty, and
More Information About Spyware and Related Problems
Other Spyware Information
Other Universities' Spyware Sites