Yahoo Inc. on Thursday joined the fight against unwanted software that monitors users Web surfing, alters their home pages and bombards them with ads.
The Sunnyvale, Calif., company announced a beta for its Web browser toolbar that includes an anti-spyware plug-in for finding and removing spyware and other unwanted programs.
The Anti-Spy beta for the Yahoo Toolbar also lets users manage various spyware and other downloaded software, including restoring programs accidentally removed, Yahoo said.
For the new toolbar beta, Yahoo is making use of anti-spyware software from PestPatrol Inc., which offers a commercial version of its anti-spyware applications.
Spyware increasingly has captured the attention of regulators and lawmakers. The Federal Trade Commission has begun a series of investigations into spyware abuses and has been holding public forums on the issue.
Congressional lawmakers have introduced at least three bills about the issue, and last month a U.S. House committee held hearings to probe the rise in unwanted and deceptive software downloads.
Along with the beta test, Yahoo started an online forum for consumers to discuss spyware issues and find the latest information about unwanted software, including an updated list of the biggest spyware pests.
Yahoo did not say when its Anti-Spy feature will become generally available in the Yahoo Toolbar. It is now available to a limited number of users as a free download here. It requires the Windows operating system and Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher.