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FYI: software spy



http://www.langa.com/whats_new.htm

gerade in der LangaList aufgeschnappt:

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The Aureate Mess

[...]
As it turns out, the Aureate software is a "phone home" application
that can (and does) send information about you and your system either
to Aureate or to the companies who have built Aureate's software into
their applications or downloads. But exactly *what* is sent and *how*
it's sent has been a source of great controversy.

Let's stop here for a sec: If you want to see if Aureate's "spyware"
resides on your system, search your system for "Advert.dll" which is
the central piece of the Aureate system (there are many other pieces
too, but this one's the biggie.) If you find Advert.dll, then Aureate
may have been spying on you.

Reader Rich Brennan was the first to wave the flag about Aureate to
me: He pointed me to
http://www.hardocp.com/news_images/2000/february_2000/aureatespying.html,
a page that has (in reverse order, with the older messages further
down the page) the original assertions against Aureate, and some
clarifying responses from an Aureate official. Many, many other
readers have written in too. (And thanks to all who did!)

CNET ran a more balanced story here:
http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-1558696.html?tag=st.ne.1002

As the above links show, a number of somewhat wild claims have been
made about this "spying" including assertions that that the DLL sends
back a list of all software in your PC (lifted from the Registry), and
monitors all multimedia clips you run on your system. These wilder
claims appear to be false. See
http://www.kumite.com/myths/myths/myth036.htm for a thorough debunking
of the issue--- although I personally believe that the debunking goes
too far. Here's why:

The software *does* seem to be either poorly designed or implemented.
For example, uninstalling the applications that include the Aureate
spyware often does NOT remove the spyware itself, and the spyware
doesn't show up as a separate app, and has no uninstall available on
its own. Once you have it, you have it forever.

Plus, although Aureate intends the software to be used in an above-
board manner, many apps that install the software do so silently and
with no user notification whatsoever. Thus some user data (though
nothing like what the wild claims allege) can be sent without the
user's consent.

I'm personally inclined to see this as a consequence of less-than-
stellar competence rather than active evil intent on the part of
Aureate. But even if their hearts are pure, the end result is that
there's a fair chance you have software on your system you don't know
about, and that it may be communicating some information about you or
your system to others without your knowledge or consent. That's not
OK.

Reader "Darren" found a freeware app (from a known hacker!) that
purports to remove Aureate components:

     Further info on the Aureate Spy software (the software that
     installs .dll files on your computer which connect to
     Aureate when you go online and send worryingly comprehensive
     information about you): Help has come from an unlikely
     source - Cokebottle (a renowned software 'cracker') has
     developed a little utility to detect and remove Aureate Spy
     components. The file can be downloaded from:
     http://www.download.com@3253986333/dload/antispy.zip
     The utility is virus & trojan free, but you should always
     scan ANY file that you download from the internet - don't
     take anybody's word for it...

Thanks, Darren--- though I'd wonder about using a known hackers apps
in any case. <g>

A more familiar name--- Steve Gibson, of www.grc.com fame--- also has
weighed in on the matter at http://grc.com/aureate.htm, and has
promised a freeware fix of his own.

My take on all this is that the software is indeed poorly done and
badly used, and I'll use Steve's cleanup app when it becomes
available. Meanwhile, I've manually deleted Advert.dll from my system
(this rips the heart out of the Aureate system) and erased any
references to Aureate in my Registry (using Regedit.Exe). Finally,
with ZoneAlarm running, I can detect and block attempts by Aureate or
*any* "phone home" app.

In short: While there's something not right about the Aureate software
and the way it's been used, it's also fairly easy to shut it down. And
that's exactly what I recommend you do.

------------------------------- CUT ---------------------------------

Aureate Network Members:

       GetRight
       Go!Zilla
       CuteFTP 3.0
       NetAnts
       Net Vampire
       Free Solitaire
       JetCar
       buddyPhone 2
       CuteFTP 3.0 beta
       NewsShark
       Abe's MP3 Finder
       Dwyco Video Conferencing
       Delphi Tester
       MP3 Fiend
       WebCopier
       Aureate Group Mail
       Binary Boy
       Download Wonder
       ASP1-A3
       NetCaptor 5.0
       NetTime Thingy
       TIFNY
       ComTry Music Downloader
       WebStripper
       Sweep
       Calypso E-mail
       Netbus Pro 2.10
       LOL Chat
       PicPluck
       Access Diver III
       NetNak
       Midnight Oil Solitaire
       File Mag-Net
       Alive and Kicking
       BinaryVortex
       CuteFTP/Tripod
       InnovaClub
       LapLink FTP
       MP3 Grouppie
       Iban Technologies IP Tools 3.1
       NewsBin
       Planet.MP3Find
       3D-FTP
       EasySeeker
       Crystal FTP
       MP3 Album Finder
       FTPEditor
       Free Spades
       Capture Express 2000
       DigiCams - The WebCam Viewer
       3rd block
       Address Rover 98
       AutoFTP PRO
       LOL Chat
       RingSurf
       Abe's Picture Finder
       Web SurfACE
       SonicMail
       SBWcc
       Dialer 2000
       Free Submitter Pro
       My Genie SE
       StockBrowser
       Ping Thingy
       MP3 Mag-Net
       FourTimes
       Beatle
       Grafula
       Folder Guard Jr.
       TWinExplorer Standard
       Advanced Call Center
       xBlock
       VOG Backgammon Table
       My Genie Patriots
       More Space 99
       VOG Backgammon Main
       Active 'Net
       SmartSum calculator
       FreeZip!
       Net-A-Car Feature Car Screensaver
       My GetRight
       Planet.Billboard
       Infinite Patience
       DNScape
       CutePage
       ReGet 1.6
       SimpleSubmit v1.0
       Acorn Email
       Octopus
       Internetrix
       AcqURL
       Pictures In News
       ProtectX 3
       NetSuck 3.10.5
       SunEdit 2K
       Advanced Maillist Verify
       QuoteWatch
       Cheat Machine
       Wordwright
       MX Inspector BIG AD
       VOG Shell
       Resume Detective
       DownLoader v.1.1
       CSE HTML Validator Lite
       AdWizard
       SBJV
       WebCamVCR
       The Mapper
       Space Central Screen Saver
       ProxyChecker
       Meracl ImageMap Generator
       PMS
       Sound Agent
       QuadSucker/Web
       Scout's Game
       JOC Web Spider
       Free Picture Harvester
       Check4New
       MirNik Internet Finder
       WinEdit 2000
       hesci Private Label
       ActionOutline Light 1.6
       SuperIDE
       Mp3 Stream Recorder
       Add/Remove Plus!
       Zip Express 2000
       DigiBand NewsWatch
       QWallet
       Abe's Image Viewer
       WebSaver
       Auction Explorer
       EZ-Forms FREE
       Total Finger
       FileSplit
       Abe's SMB Client
       Subscriber
       SaberQuest Page Burner
       Splash! Siterave
       Abe's FTP Client
       Photocopier
       GovernMail
       AutoWeb
       DL-Mail Pro 2000
       iFind Graphics
       Netman Downloader
       Shizzam
       Visual Cyberadio
       DateTime
       imageN
       CuteMX
       AxelCD
       VeriMP3
       Charity Banner
       Web-N-Force
       Net Scan 2000
       HangWeb
       Mail Them
       TI-FindMail
       JOC Web Finder
       Huey v1.8 Color Picker
       Danzig Pref Engine
       Personal Search Agent
       NewsWire
       SweepsWinner
       TypeWriter 1.0
       NotePads+
       123Search
       Aureate SpamKiller
       Notificator 1.0b
       FreeSite
       Word+
       Virtual Access
       Gunther's PasswordSentry
       HTTP Proxy-Spy
       Idyle GimmIP
       Download Minder 1.5
       VOG Chess Main
       Zion
       Doorbell 1.18
       SK-111
       InstallZIP
       EmmaSoft ChatCat
       EnvoyMail
       W3Filer
       ScreenFIRE - FileKing
       JOC Email Checker
       MouseAssist
       VOG Chess Table
       ChanStat
       HTML Translator
       Win A Lotto
       Website Manager
       Text Transmogrifier
       Net CB
       MultiSender
       Add URL
       QuikLink Explorer Gold Edition
       LineSoft Download
       NfoNak
       Classic Peg Solitaire
       InterWebWord Companion
       Cascoly Screensaver
       DirectUpdate
       Admiral VirusScanner
       Visual Surfer
       Digital Postman
       NeuroStock
       SimpleFind
       RoboCam 1.10
       Vagabond's Realm
       www.devgames.com
       VOG Shell
       Web Page Authoring Software
       Clabra clipboard viewer
       EmmaSoft dBrow
       VOG Reversi Main
       FreeWebMail
       Simple Submit
       CamGrab
       QuikLink Autobot
       SmartBoard 200 FREE Edition
       CDDB-Reader
       Static FTP
       InfoBlast
       Blue Engine
       MP3 Renamer
       TheNet
       UK Phone Codes
       Quadzle Puzzles
       WorldChat Client
       ScreenFIRE
       VOG Reversi Table
       Worm
       Music Genie
       WEB2SMS
       Idyle GimmIP
       FreeImageEditor
       MP3INFO-Editor
       NeatFTP
       FreeNotePad
       Your ESP Test
       WhoIs Thingy
       WebType
       Total Whois
       NetBoard
       CDMaster32
       ChinMail
       Vertigo QSearch
       Real Estate Web Site Creator
       Network Assistant
       Internet Tree
       VOG Shell History
       Trade Site Creator
       StartDrive
       Go!Zilla WebAttack
       FreeWebBrowser
       Tracking The Eye
       EmmaSoft Soundz
       Web Coupon
       Meracl FontMap
       Smart 'n Sticky
       Rosemary's Weird Web World
       Web Registrant PRO
       jIRC
       Web Resume
       Recipe Review
       KVT Diplom
       Delphi Component Test
       alphaScape QuickPaste
       QuikLink Explorer
       PingMaster
       JFK Research
       BookSmith : Original
       ScreenFlavors
       Sea Battle
       People Seek 98
       EmmaSoft KeepLan
       3d Anarchy
       FreeIRC
       Pattern Book