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FYI: software spy


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
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:

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

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:
     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.

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Aureate Network Members:

       CuteFTP 3.0
       Net Vampire
       Free Solitaire
       buddyPhone 2
       CuteFTP 3.0 beta
       Abe's MP3 Finder
       Dwyco Video Conferencing
       Delphi Tester
       MP3 Fiend
       Aureate Group Mail
       Binary Boy
       Download Wonder
       NetCaptor 5.0
       NetTime Thingy
       ComTry Music Downloader
       Calypso E-mail
       Netbus Pro 2.10
       LOL Chat
       Access Diver III
       Midnight Oil Solitaire
       File Mag-Net
       Alive and Kicking
       LapLink FTP
       MP3 Grouppie
       Iban Technologies IP Tools 3.1
       Crystal FTP
       MP3 Album Finder
       Free Spades
       Capture Express 2000
       DigiCams - The WebCam Viewer
       3rd block
       Address Rover 98
       AutoFTP PRO
       LOL Chat
       Abe's Picture Finder
       Web SurfACE
       Dialer 2000
       Free Submitter Pro
       My Genie SE
       Ping Thingy
       MP3 Mag-Net
       Folder Guard Jr.
       TWinExplorer Standard
       Advanced Call Center
       VOG Backgammon Table
       My Genie Patriots
       More Space 99
       VOG Backgammon Main
       Active 'Net
       SmartSum calculator
       Net-A-Car Feature Car Screensaver
       My GetRight
       Infinite Patience
       ReGet 1.6
       SimpleSubmit v1.0
       Acorn Email
       Pictures In News
       ProtectX 3
       NetSuck 3.10.5
       SunEdit 2K
       Advanced Maillist Verify
       Cheat Machine
       MX Inspector BIG AD
       VOG Shell
       Resume Detective
       DownLoader v.1.1
       CSE HTML Validator Lite
       The Mapper
       Space Central Screen Saver
       Meracl ImageMap Generator
       Sound Agent
       Scout's Game
       JOC Web Spider
       Free Picture Harvester
       MirNik Internet Finder
       WinEdit 2000
       hesci Private Label
       ActionOutline Light 1.6
       Mp3 Stream Recorder
       Add/Remove Plus!
       Zip Express 2000
       DigiBand NewsWatch
       Abe's Image Viewer
       Auction Explorer
       EZ-Forms FREE
       Total Finger
       Abe's SMB Client
       SaberQuest Page Burner
       Splash! Siterave
       Abe's FTP Client
       DL-Mail Pro 2000
       iFind Graphics
       Netman Downloader
       Visual Cyberadio
       Charity Banner
       Net Scan 2000
       Mail Them
       JOC Web Finder
       Huey v1.8 Color Picker
       Danzig Pref Engine
       Personal Search Agent
       TypeWriter 1.0
       Aureate SpamKiller
       Notificator 1.0b
       Virtual Access
       Gunther's PasswordSentry
       HTTP Proxy-Spy
       Idyle GimmIP
       Download Minder 1.5
       VOG Chess Main
       Doorbell 1.18
       EmmaSoft ChatCat
       ScreenFIRE - FileKing
       JOC Email Checker
       VOG Chess Table
       HTML Translator
       Win A Lotto
       Website Manager
       Text Transmogrifier
       Net CB
       Add URL
       QuikLink Explorer Gold Edition
       LineSoft Download
       Classic Peg Solitaire
       InterWebWord Companion
       Cascoly Screensaver
       Admiral VirusScanner
       Visual Surfer
       Digital Postman
       RoboCam 1.10
       Vagabond's Realm
       VOG Shell
       Web Page Authoring Software
       Clabra clipboard viewer
       EmmaSoft dBrow
       VOG Reversi Main
       Simple Submit
       QuikLink Autobot
       SmartBoard 200 FREE Edition
       Static FTP
       Blue Engine
       MP3 Renamer
       UK Phone Codes
       Quadzle Puzzles
       WorldChat Client
       VOG Reversi Table
       Music Genie
       Idyle GimmIP
       Your ESP Test
       WhoIs Thingy
       Total Whois
       Vertigo QSearch
       Real Estate Web Site Creator
       Network Assistant
       Internet Tree
       VOG Shell History
       Trade Site Creator
       Go!Zilla WebAttack
       Tracking The Eye
       EmmaSoft Soundz
       Web Coupon
       Meracl FontMap
       Smart 'n Sticky
       Rosemary's Weird Web World
       Web Registrant PRO
       Web Resume
       Recipe Review
       KVT Diplom
       Delphi Component Test
       alphaScape QuickPaste
       QuikLink Explorer
       JFK Research
       BookSmith : Original
       Sea Battle
       People Seek 98
       EmmaSoft KeepLan
       3d Anarchy
       Pattern Book