How DID I get these programs on my computer? Here are a few potential ways these applications might find their way onto your computer. (Please keep in mind, this is not a comprehensive list but it is a great start in your quest to find out where that malicious program came from).
**Computer Virus or Worm(s)
These are the primary reasons you see spyware type programs infecting your computer. Here are some examples of how this could happen:
Unintentional Download; You might intentionally download and install a program without realizing it has an unrelated, secondary purpose (spyware/adware). For example, you might be told a program will keep your computer clock synchronized with the atomic clock. If it is spyware or adware, the program might also send information about your browsing habits to its author or display advertising pop-ups whenever you're online.
Software Bundle; Spyware and adware might be included (bundled) with programs you download and install. For example, many file-sharing programs require you install additional, unrelated programs that are considered spyware or adware.
Other Users: Someone else who uses your computer might install spyware or adware on your computer. They might do so unintentionally in any of the ways mentioned above, or they might maliciously install a program with keystroke logging, to capture passwords or other personal information.
Computer Virus or Worm: A computer virus or worm can install spyware that could allow someone remote access to your computer, turn your computer into a pornography or spam server, log keystrokes to steal passwords or credit cards, or perform other malicious acts. Automatic Installation: Some unscrupulous companies use advertisements to automatically begin the installation process for their programs. By default, most browsers prompt you with a security warning to either continue or stop the installation process. Typically, these warnings don't offer a description of the program or tell you what it will do.
EXCELLENT RULE OF THUMB - IF IT SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT IS!!! NOTHING IS EVER FREE, IF YOU ENTER TO WIN A FREE ANYTHING, IT IS MORE THAN LIKELY THAT BY FILLING OUT THE INFORMATION TO WIN, YOU HAVE JUST GIVEN THAT MALICIOUS HACKER ALL THE INFORMATION THEY NEED TO STEAL YOUR IDENTITY!! BE AWARE AND BE CAREFUL!!!!
BMI has helpful information for you at: http://my.bmi.net/support.cfm Just keep your eyes open for the section titled: Protecting You & Your Computer