The number of adware and spyware software programs has climbed from 2,944 in 2000 to 4,519 in 2003, according to a recent article from Info Security Magazine.

Why should you care? Besides collecting information about your personal computing and surfing habits, often without your knowledge, adware/spyware can be a drain on computing resources, since the programs usually propagate on computers without being detected by anti-virus programs or other security measures, and can compromise a company's critical data.