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Types of Adware:  Gator

Gator is one of the most controversial adware programs of all time.  Once this ad-supported software is installed on your system, getting rid of it often takes a lot of time and money spent on effective solutions.  Until then, you can prepare yourself for a barrage of pop-up advertisements, complications with your most commonly used programs and various performance issues.  It is estimated that Gator has infected well over 400,000 computers to the current date.   

Description of Gator

Gator is promoted as a low-risk, harmless adware program compatible with Windows 98, ME, 2000, 2003 and Windows server platforms.  What isn't advertised is the fact that Gator replicates itself similar to a virus.  It has also been known to secretly download updates and install other types of adware and spyware that monitors your computer activity.  Like most adware, it presents advertisements based on your web browsing patterns, information it gathers from spying on you. 

What you Should Notice

There are number of things you are likely to notice when Gator is installed on your computer.  For example, if you are inputting data into an online form, a window might display asking if you would like Gator to remember and save the information.  There may also be an icon of a small "alligator" head in the system tray.  While browsing the web, you might detect an overwhelming amount of ads specifically related to the content your are viewing.  Lets say you're looking for a new pair of tennis shoes, the Gator software will fill your screen with pop-ups and links to various tennis shoe vendors.  Since the program monitors your activity and reports the data back to a central server, you may also be presented with pop-ups and links that have no relation to your surfing habits.  These are supplied by affiliate partners of Gator hoping you will click on them and make a purchase from their website.

To make sure it can perform consistently, Gator adware creates an entry in the registry of your computer, ensuring that it runs whenever the machine is started.  This means that the home server has the ability to watch your every move.

Removing Gator

Gator is one of the largest adware programs on the market, claiming well over 200,000 bytes of system memory.  If you detect this software and attempt an uninstall, it's important that you remove every bit.  A good place to start would be a reliable anti-spyware program.  If you do not have one installed, it is recommended to implement one right away.  Once you are equipped with the proper software and conduct a scan, it should detect Gator and any other type of malware on your computer.  From there you will be given an option to remove the infected items from the machine.  Remember to run the scanner frequently to make sure the system is safe as adware is liable to go undetected for sometime. 

Another option is to manually remove Gator from the registry.  While this isn't exactly difficult, it's quite dangerous for someone with little or no experience.  One wrong move in the registry and your computer may never be the same again.  If the registry is your method of removal, it may be wise to consult a technician and have them remove it for you. 

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Spyware has many ways of getting onto your computer, such as:

When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser