Well, my first thread on SDMB… a momentous occasion. That aside, let me get right to it.
I spent three and a half hours today working on my computer. Why was I working on my computer you ask? Was I installing a new Video card, or some sweet sweet lighting effects? No, I was working on my computer because some greedy bastard sitting somewhere in his little dark cavern (or well appointed office building, who knows these day) decided he wanted to make a quick buck by making sure every time I typed in a web address, I was redirected to a search engine that pays him for each hit.
Now being a programmer (incase you couldn’t tell by my name), I have seen my share of spy ware. This one on the other hand was good, and when I say good I mean bad enough to make me scream at my computer continuously for the entire three and a half hours. I am well versed in the use of SpybotSD© and SpyScan©, but this one required that much time to remove because as I scanned, and cleaned, and removed registry entries, it replicated itself like a work and I started the process all over again. It even activly blocked the windows update site so I couldn’t even get the fix to plug the hole it got in through.
What really makes me angry about all of this is that there is no real incentive for people not to do it. AFAIK there is no law against it. So this person can create a program that deliberately inserts itself into someone’s system without permission - causing very undesireable operation - and then make it as hard as humanly possible to remove. If I went up to another persons car and added something to it that I made sure was very hard to remove, I would be arrested for vandalism. If I was not capable of removing it myself, it would have cost me well over $100 to remove, or to have the OS reinstalled.
These kinds of spyware are a the textbook definition of a worm, and as we all know worms are just as malicious (in some cases moreso) than a virus. I say it’s high time the powers that be enact laws that punish people for doing this and take away the incentive for doing so. If there is a law in effect that I am unaware of, then I say it’s high time they enforce it.