Types of Adware: Bonzi Buddy                                                                             

There are many types of adware floating throughout the internet.  Some will clutter your screen with ads and falter system performance, while others secretly collect your personal data and transmit it to another location - some will do both and much more.  In most cases, adware serves no benefits and is viewed as an infection that should be immediately removed from your system.  

What is Bonzi Buddy?

Bonzi Buddy was first released in 1999.  The official website marketed it as a special agent designed to help a user explore the internet via numerous functions along their own browser.  When first introduced, it was presented as a green talking parrot before eventually taking the form of a purple animated gorilla.  It came with the ability to move, send email, search the web and function as a download utility.  

This program quickly gained a bad reputation for being malware, predominantly as a form of adware with spyware capabilities.  Security experts described Bonzi Buddy as an adware program that poses a severe security threat, stating that it was a high-risk infection that can be easily installed without your knowledge.  Bonzi Buddy included the familiar characteristics found in most adware.  It has been known to display advertisements whether your web browser is active or not.   It also made significant alterations to Internet Explorer such as resetting it to the Bonzi Buddy website, a malicious practice known as browser hijacking.  It attempted to connect to various remote servers, download program updates and execute arbitrary code. 

This adware was typically downloaded from a website by clicking on a link or bundled with shareware and freeware applications in which it is installed with no form of consent.   A user may have unknowingly downloaded Bonzi Buddy by accepting the EULA (End-User License Agreement) from a program linked to the adware.  It was also distributed through the attachment of an email or an instant messaging session.  

Bonzi Buddy infected various Microsoft platforms including versions 95, 98, ME, NT, 2003 and XP of the Windows operating system.

Bonzi Buddy was voted sixth on the PCWorld Readers' list of "The Top 10 Most Annoying Tech Products".  It was also termed spyware by TrendoMicro, a well known developer of security software.  Surrounded by major controversy since it's inception, the Bonzi Buddy software was discontinued in 2005.

Avoiding Adware

Although Bonzi Buddy is no longer in existence, adware remains a serious threat to millions of computer users.  Since the functions of this type of software are often sketchy at best, it is recommended that you take critical steps to keep these programs away from your computer.  Below we have listed a few tips to protect you from the threat of adware:

implement a firewall application

frequently scan your system with anti-spyware software

carefully read the End-User License Agreement of any software you download

never click on a pop-up window without carefully reading it 

remain cautious of the sites you visit on the internet

never open the attachment of an unsolicited email 

While this may be a huge step for some, you may want to consider switching your web browser.  Bonzi and other adware programs have been known to manipulate Internet Explorer because of it's vulnerable security settings.  

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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