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Adware on Bittorrent

Microsoft announced that the next generation of Internet Explorer, version 7, will be less vulnerable to drive-by spyware downloads.

Adware distributors have seeded the Bittorrent network with their wares, calling into question adware makers claims of clamping down on affiliates. Many different types of files get downloaded over Bittorrent, from Linux distributions to copyright infringing media files. Now, a few of the latter have included adware from DirectRevenue and 180Solutions. VitalSecurity.org has the in-depth story. The adware was bundled with the media in self-extracting exe files. If the MPAA or RIAA want to find who infringed the copyrights, a really good clue is the adware included in the exe, since someone had to build the exe files. In this case, it appears that an affiliate, Metrix Marketing Group (MMG), of 180Solutions and DirectRevenue is responsible. It shows particular audacity to bundle adware with copyright infringing files, and complete negligence on the part of 180Solutions and DirectRevenue to do business with such a company. After this exploit was exposed on VitalSecurity.org, DirectRevenue cut its affiliation with MMG. However, because DirectRevenue and 180Solutions probably paid MMG money to distribute their adware, which is standard practice for these affiliate deals, there is, I would assume, a financial trail that connects them to the distribution of copyright protected materials.

I think this situation illustrates the point that spyware bloggers and researchers have been hammering on, that adware makers need to bring their distribution in house. Any smart investor would look at an adware maker's business relationships before putting up a stake, because these affiliates can obviously cause a lot of harm.