Spyware, adware, sneakware, malware are all names for deceptive software that takes over unwitting victims’ computers for the purpose of gathering their personal information and bombarding them with unwanted advertising. … It’s responsible for more than 12 percent of all technical support calls in Dell’s consumer hardware division. … A recent survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that nearly 90 percent of all personal computers could be infected with at least one form of spyware.
Windows computers, again, of course. Though I make no claim that other operating systems are immune. The Wired article is an easy two-page read. Very informative, very interesting. Consumers may find that license agreements inform them that they’re letting this stuff onto their computer, while other software sneaks it on. Sometimes reformatting is the only way to recover.