Spyware and Adware

Question: I have been told that Comet Cursor is "spyware". It has a lot of cute cursors so many of our teachers have installed it on their computers. What exactly is spyware and is it a problem to have it on our systems?

The IT Guy says:
Spyware and adware are software programs that, when installed on your computer, change settings, display advertising, and/or track Internet behavior and report information back to a central database. Spyware and adware are sometimes installed unintentionally by users along with other wanted software, and can be very hard to remove. Using the "Add/Remove Programs" wizard in the Windows control panel will usually not fully remove spyware. Adware and spyware are a problem because ads can detract from educational uses of the computer; these programs can conflict with other needed applications on the computer and cause system instability, and they can also take up needed CPU power that could be put to better use. A good article on spyware including protective measures users can take is available from CNET on http://www.cnet.com/software/0-8888-8-21134131-1.html.

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