Red Tape Chronicles has an interesting series of articles about botnets, groups of hijacked computers that can be controlled remotely to send spam, viruses, conduct break-ins, host phishing sites, and of course, commandeer more computers. If you don’t take adequate steps to protect your computer, it could become some criminal’s slave.
Edelman says Cingular Wireless and Travelocity are indirectly supporting the adware and spyware industry with ad dollars despite efforts by both companies to cut ties with that form of advertising.
This settlement marks the first time the advertisers have been held responsible for how their ads were delivered. “Advertisers can no longer insulate themselves from liability by turning a blind eye to how their advertisements are delivered, or by placing ads through intermediaries, such as media buyers,” a statement from the New York Attorney General’s Office said. “The settlement calls for Priceline.com, Travelocity and Cingular, the wireless unit of AT&T, to pay New York $35,000, $30,000 and $35,000, respectively, to cover penalties and investigatory costs.” Is $35,000 enough to make a company think twice? —MEGHANN MARCO
Ben Edelman has put up an excellent portrait of how Vonage, embattled internet phone company, supports spyware. Quite thorough, Ben traces the money trail from Vonage, through its advertising partners and to the guys downloading adserving programs on your computer without your consent. Screenshots and logs bolster his thesis.
Just when we think that MySpace couldn’t sink any lower in our esteems unless a gigantic bottomless pit opened up beneath the corporate headquarters and the tentacles of Cthulhu him/her/itself coiled around it to drag it into the chthonic pit… MySpace starts infecting users with spyware.
When installed on your computer, it immediately hooks itself deep into the bowels of your registry like a tapeworm. If you try to buy something online, it’ll reroute you to a different site, or try to cash in on referral credit. It hijacks pages, logs keystrokes and, from the moment it is installed, calls out over the Internet to other spyware: “There’s a party over here and everyone’s invited!”
A couple years back, when visiting my parents in Boston, my father woke me up in a flurry of panic in the middle of the night, dragging me groggily to the computer room. Pointing at the screen, he showed me numerous desktop icons that were all directed at sites specializing in fetishistic porn sites dedicated to the sexual proclivities of cartoon characters. While my father did admit to having visited these sites on occasion “for laffs”, he uncategorically denied installing any software from them. He begged me to clean them off his computer before my mother could discover what had happened. Five minutes later, I was back in bed fifty dollars richer and my father had been introduced to scumware for the first time.
Starting in August 2004, Ancheta turned to a new, more lucrative method to profit from his botnets, prosecutors said. Working with a juvenile in Boca Raton, Fla., whom prosecutors identified by his Internet nickname “SoBe,” Ancheta infected more than 400,000 computers.
Dear Corporate America – when the revolution comes, the CEOs of those companies that have injected their customers’ computers full of spyware are going to be gang-injected by the mob of skinheads with the Anarchy symbols etched by razor blade into their own foreheads. So Movieland’s executives might want to practice holding their ankles and some gnarly yogic rectal relaxation techniques now.
We don’t mind it when software dials back home to its creator company—we mind when it does so without asking. Apparently the newest version of iTunes (6.0.2) includes a ‘Mini-Store’ pane which sends information about the current song you are listening to back to Apple (via a company called ‘Omniture’) so they can push suggested albums or songs based on your existing collection. Readers of Boing Boing have determined that turning off the Mini-Store does deactivate the behavior, but it’s something of which you should be aware.
Good news for the naive Luddites that each and every one of us has in our families. You know, the ones who believe that Internet Explorer pop-ups with Windows-like dialogue buttons are actual OS warnings and start naively clicking their way to a system infected with the spyware these scams are claiming to prevent. Because the FTC has finally nailed some of these companies and made them pay out over $2 million in ill-gotten gains.
There’s an excellent entry up over at Scatterbox detailing Sony’s perfidious scum-suckery (ed – penultimate ‘s’ chipperly added because The Consumerist is, at heart, a family publication). First: the spyware and malware they surreptitiously installed on the computers of thousands of people who had actually bothered to buy their CDs; then, vandalizing other people’s property so they could tattoo their rainbow corporate swastika in public places on somebody else’s dime. These guys are sleazy enough that a mere push would send them in a frictionless glide right across the pit full of jagged glass bottles and honey consumers would like to roll them in.