Spike in 'spyware' accelerates arms race for EarthLink
by MxxCon 10:44PM Monday Feb 24 2003 EarthLink's technical support staff handles a variety of problems: broken networks, corrupted files, coffee spills--and, increasingly over the past few months, bitter complaints from subscribers about "spyware" and "adware."
Those persistent types of programs, frequently operating on computers without owners' knowledge, have spread quickly in the last year, evolving as rapidly as anti-spyware software has been able to find them. EarthLink executives estimate that 40 percent to 50 percent of the Internet service provider's subscribers have running on their machines some kind of advertising or more-malicious program, which often monitors their behavior and sends the data back to the software's parent company.
The level of complaints has risen high enough that EarthLink says it's finally looking for an official spyware-killer to distribute to its angry customers.