During 2004 there were significant strides in the battle against spyware which will change the future of the invasive threats.

Steps Forward in Fighting Spyware

During 2004 there were significant strides in the battle against spyware which will change the future of the invasive threats. The Federal Trade Commission and the United States Congress addressed several issues involving spyware in an effort to minimize the threats coming from the quickly growing industry. Before these spyware issues were brought to government attention spyware was known to be nearly anything that was an internet related threat.

There is now a formal definition telling that spyware is "software that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge and which may send such information to another entity without the consumer's consent, or asserts control over a computer without the consumer's knowledge." Also working against spyware, the congress passed several bills to stop spyware from installing and running itself on someone's computer without their knowledge.

Most spyware distributors were able to sneak around the news laws set into place by the legislation passed by making their spy software more difficult to remove. Spyware will install unwanted toolbars, show pop ups, alter security settings, change your browser home page and change or delete system files. Other forms of spyware can log each key stroke you make and then send or sell it to unknown parties.

Spybot Search and Destroy and Lavasoft's AdAware programs are available to personal computer users for free to combat spyware threats. On the other side, spyware companies approached their invasive methods in a different way by coaxing users into buying their products which would then install spyware. To stop these efforts by spyware the FTC filed suits against Seismic Entertainment Productions and SmartBot.net who were selling their spyware to be installed as an anti-spyware product.

These companies' programs, Spy Wiper and Spy Deleter, would send warning messages to users that their system had spyware and by purchasing and installing on of these programs the threats could be detected and removed. On the contrary, the programs would bombard a user's computer with pop ups and install additional spyware, causing computer malfunctions.

PestPatrol is another example of spyware companies' stealth like methods. This popular anti-spyware product will actually detect spyware applications on a fresh computer with Windows XP that has not been connected to the internet yet. This is usually a definite sign of rogue spyware. These false claims by anti-spyware products are partially the reason why it is estimated nine out of ten computers are infected with spyware.

Studies done by industry experts at IDC have predicted the spyware market will grow up to $400 million dollars by 2008. Major security companies such as McAfee and Symantec are already beginning to include anti-spyware software in their product packages. Yahoo, Earthlink and Microsoft have also joined the anti-spyware world, releasing their versions of spyware removal tools.

By Microsoft breaking into the anti-spyware world several smaller spyware tool companies may be smashed because users will most likely prefer the trusted company's software over an unknown.

About the author: Mitch Johnson is a successful freelance author that writes regularly for http://www.1st-in-eliminate-spyware.com , a site that focuses exclusively on spyware removal software, as well as tips on how to prevent spyware from popping up on your computer. This site articles on has spyware guard, http://www.1st-in-spyware-detection.com/ as well as spyware scanner, http://www.1st-in-spyware-removal-tools.com/

Author: Mitch Johnson