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Spying on the spyware makers

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The 25-year-old researcher has spent years analyzing how spyware and adware programs work and disclosing his findings publicly. That often results in red faces and, occasionally, lawsuit threats from companies like WhenU and Claria, formerly known as Gator.

When testing spyware and adware, Edelman isn't about to sacrifice his own Windows XP computer. So he uses the VMware utility to create a virtual Windows box.

"I infect the hell out of it," he says. "It destroys the infected machine."

A law student at Harvard University, Edelman also is completing a doctoral degree in economics. CNET caught up with him on after he spoke at a conferencein San Francisco sponsored by's sister site,

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