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Kids’ Programs Targeted for Spyware and Adware

"Yogi, Barney, Bear, the people dinosaur ..." These are the words of a famous kid's programs on the idiot box. But these are no longer found only on television. They are now being used to spread spyware and adware on every person's PCs, especially those of children.

Kids have a thrilling tendency to download screensavers, wallpapers and desktop themes of their favorite icons and characters of shows on the television. A recent study says that when children download these materials they have a good chance of getting their computers infected with adware and spyware.

According to a survey by Site Advisor, search engines like Yahoo and Google flash attractive screensaver programs labeled as "free", and are often bundled with spyware and adware software. Such software is capable of tracking user activities on a PC and also makes way for scams involving identity theft.

Recently, free screensavers for 318 kids' programs shown in the US, were found through Google search. The top ten results on the first search results page were then assessed.

Out of the 85% of the searches at least one result led to a dangerous site hosting adware and spyware programs. These program vendors frequently targeted "Power Rangers", a cartoon program running on television for 13 years. It was further found that the proportion of sites that provided screensavers pertaining to "Power Rangers" stood as high as 82%. These sites in turn hosted a program containing adware and spyware .Next to 'Power Rangers' was 'Ren & Stimpy' followed by 'Rugarts & Yogi Bear'. Overall 80% of the websites that projected screensaver programs for the four shows had adware and spyware.

Screensavers of kids' programs are not the only dangers for infecting computers, when it comes to over 15 million people browsing every month to get free screensavers. Among the search results of the top five search engines for websites offering free screensavers majority is of doubtful and destructive nature.

Apart from recommending computer users to apply proper anti-spyware and anti-virus software with regular updates, use of firewall is necessary to block any undesirable access of the network or Internet. Parents should use 'parental control software' on the PCs to protect their children from being victims of such attacks.

Related article: Kids’ Choice Awards Exploited to Distribute FAKEAV

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