Yahoo Toolbar Combats Spyware
Yahoo Inc. on Thursday joined the fight against unwanted software that monitors users' Web surfing, alters their home pages and bombards them with ads.
The Sunnyvale, Calif., company announced a beta for its Web browser toolbar that includes an anti-spyware plug-in for finding and removing spyware and other unwanted programs.
The Anti-Spy beta for the Yahoo Toolbar also lets users manage various spyware and other downloaded software, including restoring programs accidentally removed, Yahoo said.
For the new toolbar beta, Yahoo is making use of anti-spyware software from PestPatrol Inc., which offers a commercial version of its anti-spyware applications.
Spyware increasingly has captured the attention of regulators and lawmakers. The Federal Trade Commission has begun a series of investigations into spyware abuses and has been holding public forums on the issue.
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Yahoo Plays Favorites with Some Adware
When it comes to blocking intrusive Internet software, Yahoo Inc.'s new Anti-Spy gives adware the benefit of the doubt.
The beta version of the spyware-fighting toolbar add-on, which Yahoo released last week, doesn't default to detect adware—a category of software in which Yahoo's paid search division has a financial stake.
Instead, users who want to identify adware in their systems via Anti-Spy must check a box each time they conduct a scan.
Among the programs the Sunnyvale, Calif., company classifies as adware are controversial ones from Claria Corp. (formerly The Gator Corp.) and WhenU.com Inc., two common targets of spyware critics who say the companies trick users into accepting unwanted downloads and flood machines with pop-up ads.
With Claria, best known for its Gator eWallet application, Yahoo is also a business partner. Claria, based in Redwood City, Calif., delivers pop-up and other forms of advertising from its GAIN ad network through software downloaded onto users' machines.
Yahoo's Overture division, a leading provider of paid search listings, contributed 31 percent of Claria's 2003 revenues through a partnership in which it supplies paid listings to Claria's SearchScout service, according to Claria's April S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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