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Beware of sneaky Typhoid adware in cyber cafes.

Typhoid adware, a virus, is a potential threat lurking in cyber cafés, according to computer science researchers.

Adware is a software that sneaks onto computers often when users download things, for example, fancy tool bars or free screen savers, and it typically pops up lots and lots of ads.

The menace Typhoid adware, as it is called now, works in a way similar to Typhoid Mary, the first identified human carrier of typhoid fever who spread the disease to dozens of people in the New York area in the early 1900s.

"Our research describes a potential computer security threat and offers some solutions," said University of Calgary associate professor John Aycock, who co-authored the paper with Mea Wang and students Daniel Medeiros Nunes de Castro and Eric Lin.

"We're looking at a different variant of adware - Typhoid adware - which we haven't seen out there yet, but we believe could be a threat soon," Aycock said.

Typhoid adware needs a wireless internet café or other area where users share a non-encrypted wireless connection.

"Typhoid adware is designed for public places where people bring their laptops," said Aycock. "It's far more covert, displaying advertisements on computers that don't have the adware installed, not the ones that do."

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