StopBadware.org issues first reports

StopBadware.org issues first reports

Summary: StopBadware.org, the newest anti-spyware group, promised to name the bad guys and today they issued the first set of reports on 4 badware pushers that consumers should avoid. StopBadware tested 4 applications, KaZaa, SpyAxe, Waterfalls 3 and Mediapipe.

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TOPICS: Malware
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StopBadware.org, the newest anti-spyware group on the scene, promised to name the bad guys and today they issued the first set of reports on 4 badware pushers that consumers should avoid.  StopBadware reported on 4 applications: Kazaa, SpyAxe, Waterfalls 3, and MediaPipe. Each report details the objectionable behavior of the application.

For Kazaa, a popular p2p file sharing application, StopBadware found that it claims to have no spyware, but, in fact, bundles adware including BestOffersNetwork (formerly known as DirectRevenue), TopSearch, AltNet Peer Points Manager and Cydoor. Kazaa also makes system changes that are not properly disclosed to the user.

SpyAxe was found to interfere with computer use by failing to uninstall the executable and requiring multiple steps to exit the application. It launches on reboot and automatically scans the computer, then nags the user to purchase the program. The behavior is not disclosed during installation.

Waterfalls 3 is a screensaver application from Freeze.com. Waterfalls 3 bundles software including a trojan related to New.net, Webhancer, (usually considered spyware) and adware apps SaveNow, New.net, Yak Community Client, the Crunch Bar, and Desktop Weather. The report says the adware installations are optional and the user can choose not to install the adware.

MediaPipe advertises itself at Movieland.com as Movieland Download Manger. The StopBadware report says MediaPipe reserves the right to continue charging the user after uninstallation and fails to uninstall properly. It deceptively installs a p2p file sharing app and a payment system.

I'd certainly agree that these four apps deserve the title badware. But is the bad behavior of these four software applications really new? Are these reports news?

People in the anti-spyware community have warned users about Kazaa, along with other p2p apps, for several years now, since 2001 - 2002 when I first got involved with spyware. See a forum post with my own comments from 2002 warning about Kazaa here.  A website called iMilly.com asked in 2002 "Is Kazaa Spyware?" iMilly.com answered "Oh my, YES!". The iMilly page also discusses Kazaa's EULA and privacy statement. Kazaa was owned by Brilliant Digital Entertainment at that time and is now owned by Sharman Networks, but not much has changed over four years in regard to Kazaa's badware ways. More recently, in 2005, Ben Edelman researched and documented the behavior of a number of p2p apps.  Ben's detailed analysis of Kazaa here.

SpyAxe is Badware -- with a capital "B". Most definitely so. But is this news? SpyAxe was number one on my top 10 rogue anti-spyware of 2005 list. SpyAxe has been the subject of thousands of complaints on forums, written about in scores of blogs, and there are several tutorials on the web to help afflicted users remove SpyAxe using a free tool written by a member of the anti-spyware community. The StopBadware report failed to mention that SpyAxe is most often found to be installed by a trojan without notice/consent through exploits.

Freeze.com has long been known to bundler adware/spyware with its so-called free screensavers. The domain is on a number of block lists and HOSTS files.  Just for fun I downloaded the same screensaver that StopBadware named, Waterfalls 3.  I was unable to complete the installation because my unpatched XP virtual machine apparently was lacking a component needed, but I still managed to get 5 new desktop icons.  Free goodies like wallpaper, screensavers and smileys have a long standing reputation for bundling adware/spyware.

I was not familiar with MediaPipe, and based on the StopBadware report, I'll agree that it deserves the badware label.  I did find some complaints on the web about the company. At Ripoffreport.com, a user posted complaints about the company and software. Someone claiming to be a representative of the company responded and an interesting dialogue followed. An article on ConsumerAffairs.com states that Movieland denies charges of putting spyware on consumers' computers and actually threatened ConsumerAffairs.com, demanding the article be removed or retracted. I wonder if MediaTime/Movieland will threaten StopBadware.org and its big corporate sponsors, Google, Lonovo and Sun Microsystems. *That* would be interesting!

Topic: Malware

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8 comments
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  • Time will tell,

    Sooner or later. I'm curious how the confrontation will end... Probably in the same way as with what's going on between Apple and the French Government..
    Arnout Groen
  • New Movieland / Media Pipe Variant

    Movieland and their mediapipe software just don't seem to be going away. Another new variant of the mediapipe software is now out there and many of the removal articles on the web do not take care of it. Here is a free removal tutorial that was updated two days ago:

    http://www.schrockinnovations.com/removemoviepass.php

    Now that you have what you need to remove it, we can share some background with you on how you got infected and what it means.

    You installed the Mediapipe software from Movieland - knowingly or unknowingly - when you clicked on an advertisement on a web page. Once the software is installed on your PC, you have a 30 day trial to use their services. If you do not cancel your subscription - yes you have a subscription (read the fine print next time!) - you will be auto billed for a month of service.

    If you refuse to pay, the pop ups will become more and more persistent until they are simply constant. If you refuse to pay your monthly membership fees, Movieland reserves the right to bill you for an entire year of service ($388 USD or more).

    If you don't pay that, they reserve the right to send you to collections and that could hurt your credit.

    With that out of the way... You MUST cancel your account with them FIRST by CALLING THEIR TOLL FREE NUMBER before you get this stuff off your computer. Failure to cancel first could result in a collection phone call or two. when you call, DO NOT give them any additional personal information. If they don't know who you are they can't send you a bill, so why would you tell them who you are?

    With that said, good luck and avoid any advertisement that offers free videos or movies. They are NEVER free and they are ALWAYS trouble.
    tschrock
  • Remove MoviePass SCAM - Don't Pay!!!

    I was researching the latest variant to remove MoviePass for one of my customers. I went to their website and read the terms of service (I had looked at them a few months ago) and they changed! They took down their toll-free number and created a subscription cancellation page.

    They didn't even make it a link, so you have to copy and paste it into your browser window. Then if you have a clean system it tells you access is denied, and asks you to reinstall MoviePass!

    If you have an infected system, it lets you in.

    Whatever you do, do not reinstall MoviePass. You don't have to pay these people a dime. http://www.schrockinnovations.com/removemoviepass.php Remove Moviepass and then report these jerks to the FTC!!! This is such a SCAM!
    tschrock
  • MoviePass renamed to Popcorn.net

    The people behind MoviePass have bottled up their software under a new name - popcorn.net. Popcorn.net is just as hard to remove as moviepass, but luckily all of the file names are almost identical. They dropped the mediaPipe name and replaced it with the more generic Download Manager. Removal instructions are available at http://www.schrockinnovations.com/removepopcorn.php
    tschrock
    • Purely Scam

      The billing they pop-up on your screen is the best scam I ever encountered. Better remove it now. http://www.precisesecurity.com/adware-spy/aw-pcn.htm
      gabesa
  • RE: StopBadware.org issues first reports

    stopbadware just issued a complaint about oneof my websites http://marketplace-central.com

    compaining about my automall (a turnkey run on many websites) and it definitely does NOT install anytihng on a user's site or any malware/adware, etc. causing google to put up a warning on my site. I'm not runing that turnkey now but have for years.

    What we need is for a class action suit against these do gooder rambos - that should bring them down a dozen notches.
    majorhart1
  • RE: StopBadware.org issues first reports

    http://www.change.org/petitions/lets-stop-stopbadwareorg-et-al
    espici_2
  • Petition to Stop StopBadware.org, et al.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/lets-stop-stopbadwareorg-et-al
    espici_2