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Disreputable anti-parasite software

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Non-recommended anti-parasite software

* The backstabbers... * The unwanted... * The hypocrites... * The
dodgy
dealers...

The issue of parasites, spyware and adware has received a lot of
publicity recently. This has resulted in an explosion of anti-parasite
tools, many of them incompetent or even outright harmful, often
produced by the same kind of bandwagon-jumping ethics-free affiliate
marketing firms that brought us the parasite problem in the first
place.

Such companies do not always have the talent to research malware,
produce targeting databases and write removal software. So many of the
programs are copies of other applications—either through licensing
questionable databases and software sold on the open market from other
companies, or in some cases simple code theft.

Some companies do not even bother with the targeting database and just
report completely bogus results. Either way, the result is typically a
bunch of false positives coupled with a plea to spend money to remove
them.

And some supposed anti-parasite software actually does nothing of the
kind.

Note: if you work for one of the companies whose software is listed
here, and believe any of the information is inaccurate or misleading,
please do get in touch and I will be happy to correct any mistakes
and/or advise on how the problems might be ‘fixed’. The backstabbers

Anti-parasite programs which themselves install parasites.
MyNetProtector

All products from mynetprotector.com, including MyNetProtector
Anti-Spyware, have been seen to install multiple parasites, typically
BargainBuddy, Delfin, FavoriteMan/ATPartners, IEDriver, PurityScan/M2,
TopText, webHancer, WildMedia/StatBlaster and the NetShagg parasite,
which is controlled by SJB Enterprises—the company behind
MyNetProtector.

MyNetProtector Anti-Spyware also fails to detect any actual spyware;
it
actually targets cookies, not parasites. Scumware Remover

Scumware Remover (scumware-remover.org) masquerades as an anti-spyware
application but is actually just a dropper for its author’s
SmartestSearch parasite. SpySpotter

SpySpotter (spyspotter.com) is an anti-spyware application from Oemtec
Ltd (oemtec.com). It has been bundled with iMesh so is considered a
parasite in its own right; when installed stand-alone, it also bundles
Oemtec’s Oemji toolbar (oemji.com) parasite and PopupBlockade.

The Oemji toolbar code is based on the ZipClix parasite, from MWorld
Holdings, who also produce the Httper, PopupBlockade, and
InternetWasher parasites and appear to be part of the same
organisation
as Oemtec. Malwhere

Malwhere (malwhere.com) is a process lister by Ran Geva/Softbulldog.
Each running process is displayed, with known process-based threats
highlighted (Malwhere does not detect other types of program). For
unknown executable names it does a web search for information.

Malwhere bundles the SaveNow/Save, ClockSync and Search parasites.
Meanwhile other products from Softbulldog also install
IEDriver/IEHost,
FavoriteMan, CommonName/InternetKeywords, BargainBuddy/URLCatcher and
Delfin. UControl

UControl is a spyware removal application from WhenU (whenu.com),
built
into some versions of their SaveNow/Search parasite. It also bundles
the SaveNow/Save parasite and ClockSync.

UControl is based on the scanner from Aluria’s Spyware Eliminator,
which is generally considered a reasonable anti-parasite program
(though Aluria’s reputation in general has been harmed by the
partnership with WhenU). SpyBan

SpyBan (spyban.net) is an anti-spyware application from NicTech
Networks (nictechnetworks.com), who also operate the
system-destabilising and extremely difficult-to-remove Look2Me
parasite. SpyBan installs Look2Me when loaded, which can then install
other parasites.

The SpyBan website has disappeared but the software is still available
from some download sites. Terminexor

Terminexor is a complete and unauthorised copy of the code of the free
anti-parasite application Spybot Search&Destroy, with some of the
strings in the executable file hacked to change the name.

Terminexor is distributed by Flashpoint Media (flashpoint.bm) and
silently bundles the FlashTrack/Xmod and BroadcastPC parasites, both
of
which are operated by Flashpoint.

Terminexor is believed no longer to be promoted. SpyAssault

SpyAssault (spyassault.com) claims to be a spyware remover, but
provides no such software. Instead, it installs the FavoriteMan/Ss32
parasite. SpyAssault is controlled by Razor Media, the same company
that operate this and some other variants of FavoriteMan, as well as
the ClickTheButton, DailyWinner, SvcMM and WhileYouSurf parasites.

SpyAssault is believed no longer to be operating. The unwanted

Anti-parasite software that is unsolicited commercial software in its
own right. VirtualBouncer

VirtualBouncer (virtualbouncer.com) and its sister program
AdDestroyer,
by Spyware Labs (spywarelabs.com) have long been installed through
drive-by-downloads and undisclosed bundling from other parasites,
including some that are loaded by exploitation of Internet Explorer
security holes.

When loaded, VirtualBouncer opens repeated spyware warning dialogue
boxes, demanding payment to remove what it says it has detected (which
it refuses to divulge; probably nothing at all). WareOut

WareOut (wareout.com) is a spyware removal application from ‘Coteco
LLC’ which is installed silently by CoolWebSearch/msbho and other
CWS-related IE security holes. Its scanner generates false positives
and even installs fake spyware ‘threats’ of its own to ensure it can
find something to ask for payment to remove.

The server for WareOut—and its sister application PopClose
(popclose.com) by ‘Rove Digital’—is hosted in a netblock at at EstHost
(esthost.com, in the atrivo.net netblock), which also serves myriad
hijacker sites, security hole exploits and blog-spammers connected to
CoolWebSearch. It is in fact only one IP address away from the
fastsearchweb.com group of hijackers that installs WareOut by security
holes. For this reason it is believed that Coteco/Rove (who seem to
have no other presence; Rove are not related to rovedigital.com) are
simply another name for this CWS affiliate. SpyBlast

SpyBlast (spyblast.com) is a supposed anti-spyware application from
advertising.com, that opens pop-up ads.

Installed by unrequested ActiveX drive-by-downloads and considered a
parasite in its own right.

SpyBlast is believed no longer to be operating. AdProtector

AdProtector was a spyware remover from RedV (redv.net, formerly
web3000.com) which useed RedV’s EasyInstall adware as the installer.
RedV are now believed to be defunct. The hypocrites

Anti-parasite software that is marketed by companies involved in
writing, distributing or controlling parasites themselves.
SpywareNuker

SpywareNuker (spywarenuker.com, nuker.com) and its variant pcOrion
(pcorion.com) is a spyware remover application from TrekBlue
(trekblue.com). TrekBlue, aka TrekData or Trek8 LLC, is a company
formed by employees of Lions Pride Enterprises who didn’t leave to
form
SJB Enterprises (operators of MyNetProtector and the Netshagg
parasite).

Lions Pride Enterprises themselves operated the wnad parasite. Trek8
controlled and may still operate the InContext parasite (aka AdGoblin,
adsincontext.com). Trek8 also owned BlueHavenMedia, who promote and
distribute heavily parasite-infected downloadable applications such as
Kazoom and ICQBoom. BHM is now operated by Software Delivery Systems,
Inc (softwareds.com), whose current relationship with Trek8 is
unclear.

The original SpywareNuker application was a licensed clone of BPS
Spyware Remover (bulletproofsoft.com), and had all the same problems
(including using an unauthorized copy of the free anti-parasite
application Spybot Search&Destroy’s targets database. The
currently-available version SpywareNuker/pcOrion 2004/2005 is a
complete rewrite and fixes these problems at least, however Trek8’s
reputation remains deservedly tainted.

SpywareNuker has also been widely promoted through spam.
SpywareAvenger

SpywareAvenger (spywareavenger.com) is a commercial-only spyware
removal application from iDownload.com. iDownload control the
Pugi/iSearch parasite, which they have installed through aggressive
ActiveX drive-by downloader scripts and exploitation of Internet
Explorer security holes. iDownload’s isearch.com is also the target of
the ILookup/Hot parasite. MyPCTuneUp

MyPCTuneUp (mypctuneup.com) is a site operated by DirectRevenue
(direct-revenue.com) that offers to remove software by its
‘partner’—ie. the parasites written and controlled by DirectRevenue
itself.

MyPCTuneUp removes variants of the Transponder parasite from Host and
BI onwards, IPInsight and GrandStreet, but not before installing using
the Transponder/Thinstaller, which leaks significant amounts of system
information to its controlling server. JimmySurf

JimmySurf (jimmysurf.com) is a commercial-only internet cleaner
program
that now also claims to remove spyware. It is sold by Surf Protect
LLC,
aka ClickSpring LLC, who operate the MediaTickets and PurityScan
parasites. Warnet

Warnet is a commercial-only spyware remover from C2 Media, who operate
the lop parasite. Believed no longer to be operating. Kill All
Spyware!

Kill All Spyware (killallspyware.com) is a commercial-only spyware
remover from Mainstream Dollars (mainstreamdollars.com), part of the
iClicks Internet Inc group that signed the initial Ineb variant of
ILookup and hosts many of its other variants.

Kill All Spyware was promoted in adware links from ILookup. #1 Spyware
Killer

#1 Spyware Killer (1spywarekiller.com) is a spyware remover
application
from ‘Kitten Holding Corp’ (evilbucks.com). The whois information is
again the same as that for many variants of ILookup, including
ILookup/Waeb which has been seen to advertise it. SpywareHelp

The SpywareHelp service promoted at spywarehelp.net is operated by
Odysseus Marketing Inc (odysseusmarketing.com) who also control the
ClientMan parasite. The dodgy dealers

Anti-parasite software that is marketed abusively. SpyWiper

SpyWiper and its variant SpyDeleter are commercial-only spyware
removers operated by MailWiper (mailwiper.com). They are promoted
through homepage-hijacking parasite installers loaded through IE
security hole exploits by SmartBotPro (smartbot.net) sites.
SpyWiper/SpyDeleter is believed no longer to be in operation.

Rob Martinson (MailWiper), Sanford Wallace (SmartBotPro) and Walt
Rines
(Odysseus Marketing) are closely connected, a trifecta of infamous
old-school spammers. Ad-Eliminator

Ad-Eliminator (ad-eliminator) and its successors Spy-Control
(spy-control.com), SpyOut (spyout.net) and Ad-Protect (ad-protect.com;
all variants have many, many alternative promotional site URLs) are
spyware scanners from Global Entertainment Solutions (gesworld.com),
an
Israeli marketing firm that normally sends spam promoting dodgy Green
Card sites.

Ad-Eliminator was promoted by an enormous and lengthy campaign of
e-mail and Windows Messenger service spam advertising
constantly-changing site addresses with misleading scare-tactics
claims
that spyware had been ‘detected’ on the receiver’s machine. A similar
misleading spam campaign has also now started for Spy-Control.

Additionally, the Spy-Control variant installs a search toolbar
targeted at www.searchmeup.com, a site normally associated with
CoolWebSearch hijackers.

XoftSpy by Paretologic (paretologic.com): downloads promoted by the
RichFind parasite.

SpywareStormer (spywarestormer.com) by Error Guard (errorguard.com),
Security IGuard (securityiguard.com) by Rex Services and PAL Spyware
Remover from PAL Soloutions (palsol.com): widely promoted by some
CoolWebSearch variants.

BPS Spyware&Adware Remover (bulletproofsoft.com) uses an unauthorised
copy of the database from the free anti-parasite application Spybot
Search&Destroy. Adware Remover Gold (adwareremovergold.com) by
Cyberheat Inc, as a licensed clone of BPS, is in the same situation.
Adware Remover Gold is also advertised by e-mail spam.

InterESoft NoSpyX (nospyx.com): commercial-only spyware remover also
widely promoted by e-mail spam. Others

There are dozens of other anti-parasite applications that either are
marketed abusively or simply aren’t much good (usually both). Eric
Howes maintains a comprehensive list of rogues at Spyware Warrior.

Parasite home... CC


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