Researchers at Sunbelt Software say that they have accidentally uncovered a huge ID theft ring after having a look at a well-known spyware program called CoolWebSearch. The spyware sparked their interest because it was so hard to remove. Sunbelt's president, Alex Eckelberry, has said that a variant of the software discovered by Sunbelt seems to do something a lot more sinister than the usual web redirection and spying. He claims that it also uploads a wide variety of personal information and sends it to a remote server apparently located in the US. Once Sunbelt investigated this server, they found a whole host of stuff valuable to ID thieves. The data stored includes chat sessions, user names, passwords and bank information, EBay account information and much more.

Sunbelt's research showed that the information being uploaded to the remote server included chat sessions, user names, passwords and bank information, he says. The bank information included details on one company bank account with more than $350,000 in deposits and another belonging to a small California company with over $11,000 in readily accessible cash, he says.

Many of the records being uploaded also contained EBay account information, he says. Among the highly personal bits of information Sunbelt was able to retrieve from the server were one family's vacation plans, instructions to a limo driver to pick up passengers from an airport, and details about one computer user with a penchant for pedophilia.