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So What is So Bad About Adware?

It is not a worm, a virus, Trojan, hijacker, or Malware. It is Adware, but is there really a difference?

I had been doing some online research when our internet security program Special Agent P.C. Secure popped up and told me toolbar.dll was added to my system and asked if I want to delete it. I put PC Secure on hold and told it to lock its' firewall to stop any further infection. After I learned that iSearch Toolbar had just installed, again for the third time. I let PC Secure kill it.

I then ran across an article at http://windowssecrets.com/050224 about Adware, by Brian Livingston. According to this article, the company iDownload, makes or markets iSearch Toolbar. They are going to sue companies that call their Adware, Malware, if they do not stop targeting their product iSearch.

Let me quote a short piece of the article, a segment of the letters sent to some Spyware removing software companies from iDownload's attorney. " ... unlike Malware, iSearch does not gather any personally identifiable information about end users, does not collect data about the user's web usage, does not collect any information entered into web forms, does not share information with third parties, does not send or cause to be sent unsolicited e-mail, and does not install items such as dialers on the end user's computer. ..."

You will notice since they are not stealing your identity their attorney believes that they have the right to invade your personal property, your computer at will. They would have a hell of a time trying to invade my home without a fight. They also never mentioned anything about popup ads, unwanted search engines, and unwanted toolbars, are not Malware.

My classification of Malware is anything that is downloaded onto your computer unknowingly and without a full disclosure. And if it runs on your computer as a program, I call it a Trojan. They want to call their type of program a nice name, Adware. Is there any difference with iSearch's Toolbar than with Wareout. I wrote about Wareout in my in one of my newsletters .

OK, so I guess P.C. Secure's Spyware cleaner can also delete Adware. Yes, PC Secure targets iSearch's Toolbar but only because it is delivered to you without full disclosure, unknowingly, unwanted, as any other piece of Malware is. Call it what you like, Special Agent will kill it, if you did not request it to be installed.

Now let me define Malware for you. Malware, synonymous with rogue programs, is a recent computer term. It is software that is designed to attack or disturb some part of a computer system. Trojans, viruses, worms, and spies are all Malware.

Adware also falls into the Malware category when it is installed without your knowledge, when it attaches itself to your browser, when it steals valuable bandwidth on your Internet connection. When Adware downloads other programs on to your computer it becomes a Trojan. When it sends home information about you or your computer, it is Spyware. When it disables other software on your computer without your consent. All of which is what iSearch Toolbar does, just read their the EULA, "End Users License Agreement", http://toolbar.isearch.com/terms.html. Brian Livingston called it "crapware", this is just too kind.

The attorney said that categorizing iSearch as Malware and the targeting of iSearch as "tortuous". As a side note the definition of tor-tu-ous: 1. Having or marked by repeated turns or bends; winding or twisting. 2. Not straight forward; circuitous; devious 3. Highly involved; complex .

Getting rid of this junk they installed on my computer is tortuous (devious). What is the attorney thinking? This junk is called MALWARE. If it is installs as unwanted, unsolicited software and slows my computer down, puts money into other peoples pocket at my expense, it's Malware! It steals your bandwidth and disturbs your computer. The Adware companies make their money by sending you to some search engine, instead of the one you want, and showing you ads from companies that pay them. At at your expense - bandwidth - time - inconvenience - annoyance, and you still have get rid of it some how.

If they don't want us to call it Malware let's call it a Trojan dropping. After all a Trojan brings a program into your computer unknowingly to you, and drops other programs you never wanted to begin with. Symantec calls it Spyware, Symantec says it is a search hijacker and tracks users activity on a remote server at iSearch.com. This would qualify it as Spyware. Symantec uses it's anti-virus software to remove it, so does this make is a virus. So what do you think we should all call iSearch?

Now let's see if we can find the difference between all terms. Spies are Malware, they fall into the Malware category plus they send information home. If Symantec is right, then it is a Spy. Trojans are a form of Malware that invade your computer and drop other unwanted programs. Some Trojans are used to control your computer remotely. Now I don't think that iSearch Toolbar qualifies as a Trojan. Worms and Viruses are also Malware, and they are not wanted either, but maybe you just want some malicious Adware installed. I do not, I do not want popup advertising when I am trying to work. I don't want to see ads for porn, ads for a vacations in Canada, discounts on rental cars, coupons that will give 10% on a lawn mower. I am not interested in buying any pills to enhance my love life, I do not need anyone to fix my credit, and I certainly don't need to buy any software to fix my computer.

The US government has the Do Not Call List to stop telephone soliciting, once you're on the list, it is a illegal for a telephone marketing company to call you. Should Adware be any different?

When I surf the Internet, it is for work only. I want to view as much of the web page in the browser window as possible, putting another toolbar on my browser decreases my visibility. Having to load the toolbar slows down my computer. Having more popup ads uses up my bandwidth, and this is really important for people with dialup connections on a 56K modem. I never wanted this piece of crapware or its Trojan or it's droppings on my computer either. I cannot recall ever visiting the iDownload site and thinking to myself; Gee, I really want to get a Toolbar just like iSearch, so it can send my surfing habits back to some company that will sell my information for a profit.

So now what? iDownload with their deep pockets are going to try and bully a few small independent companies, that make their living helping the public delete their crapware off our computers. Does iDownload really think that because they have a EULA with a full disclosure posted on the iSearch web site (which you do not get to see unless you go there) is not deceptive? According to the article, iDownload has forced some companies to remove iSearch Toolbar from their sites removal pages and remove iSearch from their dat definition files.

Easy Desk Software does not target search engine toolbars that people elect to install, such as Alexia. Alexia is targeted by many spy cleaners because it does send home your surfing habits. We don't classify it as any form of Malware. People elect to install it, it is not installed behind your back, and its functions are disclosed before you install it. That makes Alexia's Toolbar legitimate software in my book, although I certainly do not want it either. iSearch is targeted, it installs without your consent and full disclosure. We will remove it from our dat files when they distribute their product using the proper methods. If you want to keep iSearch Toolbar you have the option to tell PC Secure not to remove it.

When a company offers to pay other companies for each installation of their software; they have the obligation to verify that their product is carefully disclosed before installing the software. If not, the company should be labeled as just another rogue company; and the software should be targeted for automatic removal.

It is not iDownload or iSearch that I am targeting. I am targeting any form of Malware, all Malware, regardless of who the maker or distributor is, no exceptions. The iSearch Toolbar has invaded my computer 3 times. Based on that and their EULA, which I had to go look for after the software was installed, its Malware. The law targets criminals, any criminal, regardless of who they are. Is it illegal to call a convicted felon a felon?

When and if iDownload's case gets to court, I will really have a hard time believing that any jury will decide in their favor. Do you know of 12 people who want Trojan droppings on their computer? Do you know 12 people who want to be forced to use a second rate search engine? Do you know of anyone who wants to be spied on? Never the less, do you know of anyone who has asked to have the iSearch Toolbar installed in the first place?

If we allow these companies to bully us, we are opening the door to anyone to use deceptive practices, to install to and damage our personal property. Maybe we should all write a letter to them, are better yet, boycott and blacklist them, until they conform. Are you willing to allow companies to profit large amounts of money by installing their wares on your computer without your consent?

So now what is Adware, just some more Trojan droppings or crapware, to be removed. Had it not been for the article I read, I would call iSearch's Toolbar Trojan dropping. But now after some research I may have to consider iSearch as Spyware. Either way it's Malware.

Well I guess after I release this newsletter we'll be getting a letter form iSearch Toolbar's attorney. Is there anyone out there that wants to be on the jury?.

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