Unsolicited commercial software

...is DOXdesk’s name for the annoying breed of software that gets on your computer without you asking for it, there to make money for someone else. We call them ‘parasites’ for short.

This encompasses many kinds of spyware, adware, browser hijackers, diallers and other assorted unwelcome guests. (Definitions of these terms...)

Parasites have been around since around 1999 and have gone from an obscure issue of interest to computer security professionals to the single most common threat affecting internet users.

If your computer has recently started showing constant adverts or changing your home page and search engines; if new toolbars, bookmarks and icons have been unexpectedly appearing; or if the desktop has become unusuably slow or error-prone, it is possible you could have unsolicited commercial software installed. (How it could have happened, and how to prevent it happening again...)

DOXdesk provides a JavaScript program that can run from a web page and detect some kinds of parasite; you can see its results at the top of this page. (Putting the script on your own web pages...)

If the script found anything, it’ll give you links to more information, including manual removal instructions. (Database of all parasite information...)

There are also programs available that can (in many cases) remove the parasites automatically; they can also detect many more types of threat that the script here cannot (for tedious technical reasons). (Recommended anti-parasite software...)

Unfortunately, with the recent explosion of publicity and awareness of spyware, there are also a great many companies trying to cash in with incompetent, misleading or even deliberately harmful ‘spyware removal’ software.

Whilst there are many sites trying to mislead people into buying questionable anti-parasite software, there are also many good resources for information and discussion of parasites, spyware and related issues. (Other useful sites...)

Finally, miscellaneous information about this site: (Disclaimers, corrections, contact details, copyright, licensing...)