April 21, 2002

Alright! Who snitched? Someone's been talking to the press about SpywareInfo. I've just done a couple of interviews with some very major league news outlets about spywareinfoforum.info and about spyware in general. Hopefully there'll be some coverage of the site and some intelligent writing about spyware and privacy issues. I don't want to name names just in case the articles don't actually run, but let me tell you, both are very large news organizations.

Goodness. I may have to go and write up a press kit. hmmmm........

Like I said, I'm excited about the upcoming (I hope) coverage about the site. At the same time, I'm also dreading it. I started putting PayPal buttons all over the site a couple of months ago, and with your generous donations I was able to move to a better web host and install the message boards. However, this host only gives me a (relatively) small amount of bandwidth per month. After I hit that limit, they start writing up an invoice.

The only advertising on this site are the affiliate links in this newsletter and on the off-site downloads page and the Amazon thing at the top (in the online edition). I'd really like to keep it this way, but I need your help. If you like spywareinfoforum.info, if something on the site has helped you out, or if my Hijacked! page freed your web browser from the clutches of a nasty hijacker, please consider making a small contribution to help me with the costs. I'm not asking for your first born, just a couple of bucks via PayPal or Amazon. I appreciate any peanuts tossed my way.

http://www.spywareinfoforum.info/support.html


Last issue I asked the graphics designers out there for help with creating a new favicon for the web site. I'm looking for a new favicon for the site. A favicon is the icon you see in your address bar on some sites (like mine for instance) in the place of the default Internet Explorer icon. The one I have is fine in the address bar, but drag it out onto the desktop and it looks horrible.

If someone could design one for the site that looks good at 16x16 and 32x32, please to me. It doesn't have to look anything at all like the current icon, but it does have to a *.ico file. I'll put a permanent link to your web site at the bottom of my site's main page if I choose your icon. Please don't submit icons belonging to another site or to a software product. I don't want to get sued.

I've gotten some good submissions so far. Keep them coming!!


Lavasoft has released another reference file for Adaware 5.71. This is reference list 106-14.04.2002. Be prepared for frequent updates of this reflist. A certain scumware company appears to be preparing to update itself on a regular basis. If so, then there will likely be more of these reference files to keep up with it.

FYI, Adaware no longer removes components of Download Accelerator Plus due to the fact that the paid, registered version can't be distinguished from the free, spyware version. There is a separate utility called "Dap Clean" which will remove DAP.

Download Adaware 5.71 build 2.899 and current reference file.

Download reference file 106-14.04.2002.

Download DAP Clean.

Warnings

http://www.vnunet.com/News/1130815

A worm discovered earlier this week is hijacking web browsers and internet chat clients with promises of free porn.

Although the potential threat posed by the worm is low, antivirus companies have warned that its multiple methods of propagation could make it a nuisance.

Keep SpywareInfo running by making a small donation towards the web site's upkeep, either with PayPal or with Amazon's Honor System. http://www.spywareinfoforum.info/support.html for more details.

Updates

I'm proud to announce a new article placed on the site recently. This article compliments the main Hijacked! article. The new addition deals with the worst of the hijackers, one you've most likely heard about by now.

Lop.com has become one of the most infamous of all browser hijackers. All over the internet, from message boards to newsgroups to IRC chat rooms I've seen people begging for help in getting rid of this filthy little piece of scumware.

What is lop.com? Lop.com is first of all a web site owned by C2 Media. It is mainly a pay-per-click search portal where other web sites pay for each click-through to their site via lop. This isn't a terrible idea, but C2 Media got greedy. Rather than create a quality web site to get surfers to their site and clicking those links, they instead created what is essentially a trojan horse virus masquerading as an mp3 search program which forcibly hijacks web surfers to lop.com.

Check out the rest of the article.


I've just added a subscription management system for the newsletter called phpMyNewsletter. People can now enter their email address into a box and click a button to subscribe and also to uninstall. It automates the process of adding or removing addresses and mailing out each issue so that I can concentrate on writing the thing.

There is also an unsubscribe link at the bottom of each newsletter for easy removal of your address (yes I realize it's in French, nothing I can do about that). After only a few issues, this newsletter now has over 500 subscribers, and only one single person has unsubscribed I'm proud to say. There is also a simple management page for either adding or removing an address at http://www.spywareinfoforum.info/subscribe.

Please excuse the typo. That's called from a script, and I can't figure out how to translate it properly. This script was written by a Frenchman, and not all of it translated cleanly. Hey, what do you expect for free?

Take control of your startup programs!
RegRun Security Suite 3.1 is the new version of the award-winning startup manager that replaces Windows msconfig. Pick up your copy now!

Featured Site

Windows Guide Network at WinGuides.com

The Windows Guide Network provides technical resources and support for tweaking, managing and securing the Windows operating system using the registry, scripting and security.

This site is amazing. Most of you know about my Hijacked! article. This is the place where I learned most of the registry hacks to fix the problems associated with those hijacks. Their message boards are the first place I go for help when one of you contacts me with a new browser hijack that I have trouble figuring out.

Winguides has page after page after page of invaluable information about the Windows operating system and what makes it tick. Every imaginable question about Windows is answered here in a simple, easily understandable format.

Downloads

http://download.com.com/

InCtrl5 is the fifth incarnation of one of the most popular PC Magazine utilities. By monitoring the changes made to your system when you install new software, it enables you to troubleshoot any unexpected problems that come up. Virtually every modern program uses an install utility that installs or updates files, and also may record data in the Registry, and update INI files or other essential text files. A companion uninstall utility should precisely reverse the effects of the install utility. When a newly installed program causes existing applications to fail, or when the supplied uninstall utility can't complete its task, to restore your system you need a record of exactly what the original install utility did. InCtrl5 can provide this record. This new version offers a variety of new features, including an attractive new interface, the ability to track changes to text files such as AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS, HTML reports, and command-line switches. If you are running Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 95, you will need Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher to preview HTML reports within the program. InCtrl5 was written by Neil J. Rubenking and first appeared in "PC Magazine," December 5, 2000. Source code is included.

The Weekly Hack

Popups. Popunders. Ads that cover up content. Tracking cookies all over your hard drive. Grrrrrrrr.......

Most people say that if a web site uses such techniques, you should just refuse to go back. Normally that's good practice. Sometimes though, you find these things on a site you really like and want to keep returning to.

So what do you? Install a cookie blocker, a popup killer, an ad blocker, a proxy server, et al? Turn off java, javascripting, and activex? Those are some drastic measures to take because of a few sites that abuse their visitors. Well guess what. You don't have to do all that.

Internet Explorer has the answer to this built right into it. The Restricted Zone.

Go into Tools > Internet Properties and click the security tab. Click on the red circle labeled "Restricted sites", and click the Sites button.

Type in the internet address of the site and click the add button. If you got blasted with popups at http://www.lop.com/ haha/ wegotyou.html, you would add "http://www.lop.com", sans quotes. Then click the Ok on that window, then on the main properties window.

Voila. That site no longer has to ability to turn your browser into it's own little advertising network. You will need to close and reopen all open Internet Explorer windows for this to take effect.

Are you reading this? Well so are hundreds of other people. today about advertising your product here!

In The News

http://www.msnbc.com/news/

WEB SITES HAVE long planted bits of code called “cookies” on consumers’ hard drives to tailor Internet pages for returning visitors and better target ads. Now, enhanced messages that share the look and feel of Web pages are being used to deliver the same bits of code through e-mail, in many cases without regard for safeguards that have been developed to protect consumer privacy on the Web.

Web surfers who thought online advertisements were becoming increasingly obtrusive may be dismayed by a new tactic: pop-up downloads.

In recent weeks, some software makers have enlisted Web site operators to entice their visitors to download software rather than simply to view some advertising. For example, when visiting a site a person may receive a pop-up box that appears as a security warning with the message: "Do you accept this download?" If the consumer clicks "Yes," an application is automatically installed.

Computer security expert Richard Smith explained that with such downloads, "You don't even know why you're getting this program, and the people who do (pop-up downloads) are relying on the fact that people tend to say 'Yes.'"


http://news.com.com/

"A person should (be able to) request the download" if they want it, or decline it if they don't, he said. "It's the classic opt-in, opt-out debate."

In some cases, people are not even asked whether they want the software. It just installs on the hard drive--a particularly troublesome tactic that some have dubbed "drive-by download."

Some Net users have complained of receiving downloads containing a virus that automatically redirects them to adult-related sites. Such downloads also have been known to install new dial-up programs replacing the existing accounts. The Federal Trade Commission recently brought a case against people who were using such tactics to install a dial-up account for expensive 1-900 numbers.


http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/

The settlement that America Online extracted from a pair of Florida men this week may have closed a loophole used by spammers to flood e-mail in-boxes with junk mail.

On Wednesday, Dulles, Virginia-based AOL announced the details of a settlement against John J. Bennett Jr., Joseph B. Elkind, and their company, Netvision Audiotext in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the settlement, AOL dictated a list of conditions to the men, including requiring them to tell AOL of any other businesses that they might start in the future.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/internetnews/story/

With LBS, you will never get lost, you should be safer and, best of all, from a commercial point of view, you will always be able to find somewhere to buy something specific. But you will also have lost another part of your remaining privacy.

Nick Jones, an analyst with Gartner in the UK, says: "Do you really want your employer - or your spouse - to know where you are at every moment of every day?"


http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/

The Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center has again filed suit against the Bush administration, this time to hurry the release of documents regarding antiterrorism measures and a possible national ID system instituted by the government.

EPIC Tuesday announced that it would sue to get the details of national ID card legislation reportedly being drawn up by the U.S. Office of Homeland Security. The ID card system would reportedly link driver's license information from around the country to federal databases.


http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/

Companies are allowed to market computer ID chips which can be embedded under a person's skin in the US, after the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the technology its qualified approval.

The FDA said yesterday it would not block use of such devices as long as they contain no medical data - paving the way for the sale of devices such as the VeriChip, from Applied Digital Solutions.


http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/

Software that monitors users' online activities is now included almost routinely in most file-swapping installations. But, as just one glaring example, users of Kazaa were still shocked Monday when a Securities and Exchange Commission filing revealed that the file-sharing system includes an application that uses visitors' computers to form an alternate network where they'll be charged to access content.

Meanwhile, United Virtualities, an advertising technology firm, this week publicized plans to release "Ooqa Ooqa," a product that will allow advertisers to dump ads directly into browser toolbars and overwrite users' shortcut and favorites settings.


http://digitalmass.boston.com

A two-week federal trial to determine how far the government can go to protect children from pornography on library computers ended yesterday with judges concerned about whether the latest online smut law from Congress infringes on free-speech rights.

The Children's Internet Protection Act requires public libraries to install filtering software on all computers or lose federal technology funding.


http://www.langa.com/newsletters/

If any of you have been in a CompUSA lately, I am sure you have seen the "TRY AOL HIGH SPEED INTERNET" signs and the "AOL Icafe" kiosks with 6 computers. I was in a CompUSA today and was looking up specs on merchandise on one of these computers. Please keep in mind, the Icafe sign invites you to check email - do whatever!

I noticed the interface was different. It wasn't what is usually there (basic AOL interface).....it was framed around a CompUSA frame. My machine messed up and needed a reboot and I saw the new interface as it came up. It was called "NetKey Creator Studio." Needless to say, I was curious. I went to Netkey.com after I got home (the URL was "locked" at the store).


http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/

On Sept. 30, the government plans to begin testing Web sites where businesses can pay taxes and citizens can learn about benefits and social services. It's also exploring how to verify the identity of users so the sites can share private information.


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Credits

Copyright © 2002 by spywareinfoforum.info.

Content gathered and compiled by Mike Healan.

Proofread by the beautiful and talented GeekGrrl.