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Am I Already Infected?
Contrary to the previous page, this one does contain a sales pitch, but it's not a sale involving any exchange of money, for the product in question is free, absolutely free.
It's called Ad-Aware, and its URL is found at the Spychecker site:
Again, it's completely free, 'no strings' (it leaves one Registry key around you might want to obliterate), it's painless to download (only 200KB) and a pleasure to run.
Ad-Aware will inspect your system thoroughly for the presence (or even the stink) of spyware anywhere. This program is being continually updated as the 'bastards' in the spyware business think up new and nefarious ways to turn your online time into pure misery, so oddly enough this program is one you will not want to keep around on disk (one might even speak of a risk that spyware find it and corrupt it) but continually download from the Ad-Aware site.
The Ad-Aware site is also a plethora of information on how these nasty programs work and what methods you might have to resort to (such as wiping your disk) to get rid of them.
A final word: as in law enforcement in general, the good guys can at best stay one step behind the bad guys. You can never trust the good guy information to be complete. The bad guys may at any time have thought up a new scheme which the good guys haven't heard of yet. So using the good guys is necessary, but it is never any guarantee that the bad guys aren't back and frolicking on your system again. As always, 'caveat emptor'.
Next: Don't Let ET Call?