Technology companies and other organisations have formed a coalition to try and take on firms that spread spyware and adware.
The Stop Badware Coalition intends to publish the names of companies that it deems are the worst offenders.
The coalition will also explain how many of these companies make cash through unethical marketing practices and fraud.
The group has the support of Google, Chinese PC manufacturer Lenovo, Sun Microsystems, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University.
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Spyware and adware can be unwittingly loaded on to users' PCs when they visit websites or download other legitimate software programs.
As a result, the user can be plagued by pop-up ads, slow computer connections as a result of the malware using their bandwidth to send out reports of their activity, or, in the worst case scenarios, having their PC used by remote hackers to spread further malware and commit crimes.
The coalition has also launched the Stopbadware.org website to help users deal with malware problems, where they will be able to check what malware is included in programs they are about to download.