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Spyware Continue Their Malicious Behavior

While spyware vendors attempt to put up a better impression, the core designs in their programs remain unchanged. They still intercept users' online activities, divert browsing to their own servers, and continue to display pop-up ads. Users rightly dislike all of these because they severely affect their privacy and productivity, said researcher Ben Edelman, May 21 2007. Webpronews published Edelman's observation.

Edelman cited six instances in his research where spyware programs cheated affiliate merchants by demanding commissions for traffic approaching these merchants.

One of the instances was where Zango sued PC Tools for detecting and eliminating Zango's adware program. Zango filed the suit in the third week of May before settling with FTC and agreeing to pay $3 million. Net-security published this on May 22, 2007.

Zango has suffered losses worth $35 million that it is seeking to claim. In November 2006, the FTC forced Zango to pay $3 million after it found that Zango software was surreptitiously installing itself on users' PCs that resulted in pop-up windows in Internet Explorer.

In another instance Edelman talks of adware providers Direct-Revenue and Webhancer, which obtained TRUSTe certificates to try to appear more trustworthy than what they actually are. The New York Attorney General has initiated a legal action on Direct-Revenue for its adware program. Also regarding Webhancer Edelman alleged that it is installing its software without asking the users.

In his research, Edelman compared websites having TRUSTe certificates with a batch of websites hosting spyware, viruses, spam and online scams. Independent certificate authorities verify the website operator's identity by conducting a background check to ensure that the sites comply with the necessary privacy standards. Websites that fulfill the criteria are permitted to flash the TRUSTe logo on their pages.

Another interesting instance that Edelman cited was the agreement settled between MySpace and YouTube. Before this surfers were tricked to visit a site named Youtube.info, which asked them to accept an end-user licensing agreement in order to see the video. If the user submitted to the agreement Zango Cash adware would load on the PC. Theregister.co published this during the third week of May 2007.

Related article: Spyware Detection Programs Track Advertisers’ Cookies

» SPAMfighter News - 5/30/2007

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