spyware question (er questions...)

ok so today i had a little bit of a spyware scare, i was clicking quite quickly through a number of sites and wasnt paying much attention and i accidentally downloaded some .exe file from imbum.com (??? dont even know how i got there) a little tip DONT DOWNLOAD THAT. so then i seemed ok for a little bit, and then i tried to re-access the internet and my homepage had been changed to some shopping site or something, but there was no internet access. every page came up as a 404 error. however, AOL IM still worked. I then restarted the computer, which by the way proved strangely difficult as whenever i popped up the restart menu some error would come up and it would go away. i eventually had to manually restart. i decided to try a system restore, but when the pick user menu came up (XP) and i clicked on the user i wanted, it said i didnt have privelages but it would set me up under default and a thirty second timer started. i pressed ok and got an error screen, tried again and this time waited for the timer to count down and i got in. i system restored and it worked.

wow that was kinda rambling. but my questions

  1. Why did IM still work when IE didn’t?

and more importantly,

WHAT IS THE REASON BEHIND CREATING THIS SOFTWARE??? is it for financial gain or just people who think they’re funny?

AIM is a much simpler program than IE, and spyware doesn’t try to target or affect it. All it needs is to detect an Internet connection and it runs. Some spyware tries to attach it to MSIE, and, if poorly designed, can create conflicts and other problems. But AIM can’t be used in this manner.*

Spyware is created solely for profit. The makers get paid to direct people to their websites or to put popups on your computer.

*Some viruses use AIM to spread, but they don’t affect AIM’s operation.