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Spyware News and Information

Spyware what is it? Freeware Is it really free:

Freeware is a great idea! The Advertiser supported software that doesn't cost you anything, but is it really free? All you have to do is give your name, address, phone, e-mail, and some other general information. That's not a bad tradeoff, right? But, what if your personal information was also stored elsewhere on your hard drive, and transmitted your personal data via the Internet back to advertisers in exchange for more advertising? now that's spyware AKA adware.

Spyware is ANY SOFTWARE which employs a user's Internet connection in the background (the so-called "backchannel") without their knowledge or explicit permission. Or, ANY SOFTWARE communicating across the Internet absent of these elements is guilty of information theft and is properly and rightfully termed: Spyware.

Another potential problem is that many are poorly written, "contain bugs or errors", and can cause problems with the normal operation of your computer. If your web-browser experiences "General Protection Faults", hangs, or freezes it may be due to one or more of these types of program interfering with its proper function.

The big problem with Adware is the concept of reporting all your Internet surfing habits back home for data collection purposes. If this type of spying bothers you, then removing the spyware from your system might be a big consideration.

How does Spyware work?

A: The user downloads what is apparently a free and useful software utility. "Yes, thank you wonderful software company for providing me with these free tools to use on my computer" says the user.

B: The user does the usual thing of installing the program without even reading the License Agreement or Privacy Policy, that is if it is even there or anything them it pertains to the full hidden capabilities of the software.

C: Now when the program is installed it also bundles in some other extra bits from certain advertising or marketing agencies. These are usually plugins designed for forwarding advertisement to the software that will run when it is being used, ad revenue subsidizes the software so that you get it for free or at a discount, so fare enough the software makers should get something in return for all their hard work.

D: Then the user gets bored with the software and removes it from their computer, or just doesn't use it.

E: Why the user computer suddenly starts sending information in the background to a web address they've never heard of before when the user connects to the Internet? That's right the issue is not that things are being uploaded i.e.. Banner Ads to run in certain software but that information is being sent without the user permission, even if the software it came with isn't being used or may have been removed.

 

Most all of these spyware programs DON'T collect specific information about you, but only report general demographics, and therefore are NOT stealing your name, credit card, or other personal information. But we can't be sure.

It has been proven that software companies who denied their software was even able to forward personally identifying information were not telling the truth. Using combinations of Machine and MAC address codes you can be tracked.

All of the information gathered by these companies is potentially being sold and resold with an combined with other databases to build up profiles of individual web users, we believe this is primarily for direct marketing purposes.

What I do in the privacy of MY own HOME is MY business and MY business alone, like what you personally do in the privacy of YOUR own HOME, is YOUR business and YOUR business alone. Software authors that use spyware do not care about anyone's privacy. They breach our personal privacy and spoil our Internet experience ".

 

If you use the RealNetworks RealDownload, Netscape/AOL Smart Download, or NetZip Download Demon utilities in their default configuration . . .

EVERY TIME you use one of these utilities to download ANY FILE from ANYWHERE on the Internet, the complete "URL address" of the file, along with a UNIQUE ID TAG that has been assigned to YOUR machine, and — in the case of Netscape's SmartDownload only — YOUR computer's individual Internet IP address, is immediately transmitted to the program's publisher.

This allows a database of your entire, personal, file download history to be assembled and uniquely associated with your individual computer . . . for whatever purpose the program's publishers may have today, or tomorrow.

Net Detective - is an amazing new tool that allows you to "Find out the TRUTH about anyone you ever wanted to know about your friends, family, neighbors, employees, and even your boss!" You can even check out yourself. It is all completely legal , and you can do it all in the privacy of your own home without anyone ever knowing. It's even better than hiring a private investigator. Click here!

 

Recent adware controversies have centered on Gator and Ezula, two firms that bundle their adware with dozens of popular programs, including the game Snood, utilities like WeatherBug, and file-sharing software such as Kazaa and AudioGalaxy Satellite.

Gator covers banner ads on a site with ads from its clients. The program also sends periodic reports to Gator's server about the Web sites you've visited and the ad banners you've clicked, so Gator can favor you with ever-more-relevant ads. According to the company's lengthy privacy policy, the data Gator collects is anonymous and will not be sold.

Ezula's TopText, in contrast, works by overlaying hyperlinks onto whatever Web page you're viewing. While visiting ESPN.com, for example, you might see a yellow TopText link on the word football that, if clicked, would take you to a competing sports site.

Ezula and Gator say that their advertisers are very pleased with results, and they claim that millions of PCs have loaded the software.

Critics say these new ad techniques violate consumers' rights and infringe on copyright laws by changing a Web site's content and design. One trade group, the Internet Advertising Bureau, claims that Gator's practice of covering a site's ads with Gator's clients' ads illegally interferes with the contractual relationship between the site and its advertisers. Gator has countered with a declarative relief civil suit against IAB, seeking to have its practice ruled to be lawful.

Consumer groups also criticize the way adware often is slipped into downloads without adequate notification.

Gator maintains users aren't tricked into installing his software (adware programs are listed in the terms-of-service contracts users must accept before they can download), and he says there's nothing wrong with helping people get free software in exchange for seeing ads. Ezula, says users are notified about TopText and it's up to them to opt in or out of it.

Many users overlook the particulars of the often-dense TOS agreements, however. So some people realize they have adware only when extra links appear on Web pages or when ads multiply.

Web surfers' ire over these programs is having an impact. Spedia, which distributed a program like TopText, stopped in response to complaints. Spedia had bundled adware with its SurfPlus software, which blocks pop-up ads.

The privacy experts caution users to download prudently. You need to be aware of what you're downloading and who produced it. And no one surfing today's Web should confuse "free" with "annoyance-free."

 

Click here for a list of Known Spyware:

 

To Detect Adware
Open the Windows Task Manager by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete. It lists the programs running in the background.

Spyware Killer is also a firewall. It alerts you when any program attempts to send or receive data (such as any personal information) and lets you block or approve each attempt and find out which apps are making the requests.

Note: BearShare/Spyware!: BearShare has been identified as containing "SPYWARE" by www.spychecker.com and others. BearShare supposedly installs programs called "Onflow" and "Savenow". You can go to the Bearshare site, go to the documentation section, then to the FORUMS. In the forums goto the area called Adware. (if its still there) This is not a joke, go read about the adware/spyware they installed on your system. Spyware/Adware will not kill you but its definately not cool. Are they reading your hardrive? Did you know they were on your system? Have you read the fine print in the BearShare user agreement? Disable the spyware & keep bearshare. Bearshare is a great program... but... Gnutella can exist without bearshare. Do you care?

Ad Industry Provides Method for Mass Opt-Out:

Several of the biggest ad networks, including DoubleClick, L90 and 24/7 Media, have joined forces to create a Website that allows consumers to opt out of their data collection efforts. here!

 




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