The Straight Dope on Spyware Search and Destroy
The dangers and annoyances are well-documented. The difficulty of finding and eliminating spyware once it's on your computer can only be understood by the long-suffering victim of such an experience. The creators of spyware programs are particularly sneaky. They make it easy for the programs to download onto your computer and set up housekeeping.
The link that you click is never labeled "Click here to download a sneaky spyware program." It always says something different. The spyware is rarely saved in a folder that is marked "sneakyspayware.exe." It always hides under the name of the software it was bundled with or hides within the processes necessary to the system's operation. It may even pretend to be destroyed and then repair itself. But none of that is the sneakiest thing that it does.
Hide and Seek
One of the most annoying sneaky tricks played by spyware is getting itself downloaded to your computer by pretending to be a spyware seeker. Of course, there really are pretty good anti-spyware programs available free online. Spyware Search and Destroy is reported to be both. Some online reviewers have found the latest version of Spyware Search and Destroy to be a pretty good finder of spyware. Most reviewers find that it overlooks some common types of spyware but that its real time blocking works very well.
Other reviewers tell of incessant pop-ups arriving after downloading Spyware Search and Destroy and a real difficulty in uninstalling it. Of course, any download carries the danger of spyware, adware and other types of malware with it. If Spyware Search and Destroy tends to miss installed spyware, then it may have good intentions and bad execution. In that case, both kinds of reviews may be accurate.
The term "spyware" includes so many types of programs that it is impossible to nail down a good clear picture of what it is. Definitely, spyware is always a program that runs in the background without your knowledge and gathers some kind of information about you which is somehow transmitted to the organization that had it installed on your computer.
That's why it's important to do your homework when you look for an anti-spyware program. You want one - two, if necessary - that will work on all of the most dangerous types of spyware. At best, Spyware Search and Destroy is a less than perfect anti-spyware program. At worst, it's an unknown quantity that might invite more spyware onto your machine.