Terminating Spyware With Extreme Prejudice

Rachel Dodes in the New York Times:

The end of the year is a time when people sit down, rethink their priorities and sometimes change their ways. Some quit smoking. Others join a gym. I chose to erase my hard drive and reinstall my operating system.

Sure, it was a drastic move, but my two-year-old I.B.M. ThinkPad – equipped with a 1,000-megahertz Pentium III processor, a high-speed Internet connection and 256 megabytes of memory – was running about as fast as the Apple IIE I used in the mid-80’s.

After six months engaged in mortal combat with spyware – parasitic software that tracks your browsing habits, sends out pop-up ads and can even send your private information to an organized crime ring in Guam – I had two options: shell out $1,200 for a new ThinkPad, or wipe my hard drive and start from scratch – a huge production with potentially cataclysmic results.

More here.