Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

The Plot To Hijack Your Hard Drive 181

Posted by Zonk
from the avast-me-harties-pop-ups-rollin-in-from-the-south dept.
An anonymous reader writes Business Week Online examines the business practices of spammers and pop-up advertisers, using much-maligned Direct Revenue as an example case. The article discusses the history of the company, their rocky road through good and bad times, and what they're willing to to get your eyes on their ads." From the article: "Among Direct Revenue's alumni, pride over technical cunning mingles with regret for exasperating so many computer users. After waffling on the issue during a long interview, one former Dark Arts wizard sighs and sums up his version of the company credo with an elegiac observation by abolitionist Frederick Douglass: 'Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Plot To Hijack Your Hard Drive

Comments Filter:
  • by gasmonso (929871) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:05PM (#15678255) Homepage

    Complain to the companies that advertise with these methods. If you see an ad for Delta airlines, write them a letter complaining. Bitching to the advertising company is useless because they don't care... they're getting paid from someone else. Now the companies advertising through them are getting paid from you... and they will listen eventually.

    Also, use a router, firewall software, Antivirus, and Firefox. Haven't any issues ever.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
    • So basically what you're suggesting is a slightly different version of Blue-Security? Same premise, different problem?
    • by andrewman327 (635952) on Friday July 07, 2006 @04:00PM (#15678799) Homepage Journal
      Believe it or not, companies really do read their snail mail. I have gotten more for my $0.39 than I ever could have gotten through e-mail or even telephone calls. If you feel passionately about this, e-mail me [mailto]. I am interested in starting a group to pressure people to stop advirtising this way.
    • Don't browse the internet as Administrator on Windows, ever. Don't even browse as a "power user" - create a restricted user (no install or registry change privileges).

      If you are going to browse while logged in as Administrator, right-click on your browser, select "Run as" and run it as a less-privileged user.

      In general, always run as a restricted user, and use "Run as" to elevate privilege of software that requires it (cd burning, etc.). Leave Administrator alone.

      If you have no firewall, examine the

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Just fyi: Direct Revenue's 'Aurora' adware worked with Firefox, not just IE.
    • by jimicus (737525) on Friday July 07, 2006 @04:44PM (#15679166)
      Also, use a router, firewall software, Antivirus, and Firefox. Haven't any issues ever.

      When having sex with a potentially infected prostitute, wear three condoms and wash your gonads in bleach afterwards.

      Alternatively, don't sleep with infected whores.

      (Mods: I am not trolling. I am pointing out the absurdity of having to use so many layers of security when an alternative OS would solve all those issues without the need for so many layers of security. It's a joke. Laugh.)
      • I am pointing out the absurdity of having to use so many layers of security when an alternative OS Well, this is called security though obscurity. A better example would be that people keeping letting their dog crap on your lawn. A firewall and antivirus solution would be like putting up a fence and security light. Alternatively, you could move to the south pole where there are no dogs or people around to mess up your lawn. Is Linux/MacOS really more secure then windows, is their just no one around to t
        • Is Linux/MacOS really more secure then windows, is their just no one around to throw crap on it?

          By default no, Linux's kernel is pretty secure, but there are still constant holes being found in the various services that people often install such as sendmail. A few years ago in Linux's infancy I setup a default RedHat box, and left it connected to a 56K modem overnight. It was hacked before morning.
          Of course this was like 10 years ago.. In other news, security sucked 10 years ago :)
    • Also, use a router, firewall software, Antivirus, and Firefox. Haven't any issues ever.

      Um, I'm at work behind a firewall. We have office scan antivirus and adaware. I and another person run FireFox. He had something like this happen to him just today. He didn't click on anything that it popped up and didn't fully install the thing and was able to remove it. I wonder how many out there click on those damn things.
    • I see an issue is the operating system allows this software to be hidden
      and become unremovable. Apart from not giving root access does Linux
      have any mechanisms for users to avoid this pitfall. This type of
      addware could in the future be installed and run in user directories.
      BSD can be configured to only run applications installed in $PATH
      can Linux do similar, could Linux stop it if targeted?
      • Short answer: Yes.

        Longer answer: The easy way is to have /home be a separate partition, and set it to mount noexec (in /etc/fstab).

        You can be even more secure if you want to. This presumes that everyone with root access is well intentioned. Another choice just presumes that everyone with physical access if well intentioned. (Don't know a feasible way around that one.)
  • Who buys this stuff? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:07PM (#15678285)
    I mean, I think the real problem is that people will buy stuff from ads that randomly pop-up on their computer. And worse, those ads are the most effective kind?? I mean, if we could get people to wise up and not purchase sketchy stuff from spam or adware, then evil companies would stop making it.
    • I've always advocated the solution to SPAM is to make it legal for people to publicly lynch people that buy from SPAM and telemarketters. It's kind of like Darwinism in a way.
      • True, but why wait for legalization? It would also work if you do it privately and illegally.
      • I guess a good extention to this would be to lynch those that buy anything from an infomercial. Of course, then my dad and his fiance would be out of the picture. So I'm going to opt for anyone who directly pays the guys should have both legs broken... repeatedly... until they stop paying companys to do this. And the people who write code to hijack homepages will suffer a bludgeon to the head for every computer that was bricked or even temporarily bricked because of the shit they wrote. That way they'll
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:16PM (#15678382)
      Your post advocates a

      ( ) technical ( ) legislative (x) market-based ( ) vigilante

      approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

      ( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
      ( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
      ( ) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
      ( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
      ( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
      ( ) Users of email will not put up with it
      ( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
      ( ) The police will not put up with it
      ( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
      (x) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
      ( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
      ( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
      ( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

      Specifically, your plan fails to account for

      ( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
      (x) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
      ( ) Open relays in foreign countries
      ( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
      ( ) Asshats
      ( ) Jurisdictional problems
      ( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
      ( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
      ( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
      ( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
      ( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
      ( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
      ( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
      ( ) Extreme profitability of spam
      ( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
      ( ) Technically illiterate politicians
      ( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
      ( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
      ( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
      ( ) Outlook

      and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

      (x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
      ( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
      ( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
      ( ) Blacklists suck
      ( ) Whitelists suck
      ( ) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
      ( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
      ( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
      ( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
      ( ) Sending email should be free
      ( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
      ( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
      ( ) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
      ( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
      ( ) I don't want the government reading my email
      ( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

      Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

      (x) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
      ( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
      ( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!
      • I have a simple, foolproof idea to help eliminate spam.

        Email certification.

        If you want to be able to send Certified Email (CE), you apply for Certification from the company that gives you internet connectivity. They check you out, and 'Certify' you as being a legitimate emailer (ie: not a spammer). Then, you generate a private/public key pair and give them the public one. In the headers of all your email, is their certification, and an encrypted header line that's createdusing your private key.

        When email ar
    • by roman_mir (125474) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:27PM (#15678487) Homepage Journal
      The problem in this topic is the answer to Stephen Hawking's question in one of the previous topics: it is all about demographics. The more people there are on this planet, the more likely we are to have extremely smart people, who will push us to the stars, and the more likely we are to have extremely dumb people, who will buy anything from a popup ad.
      • Then the obvious answer to both is that we need to work on bringing that low-end up to somewhere more reasonable. Such that a basic American education (eventually internationally) includes that sort of basic common sense.
        • by Schemat1c (464768) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:53PM (#15678729) Homepage
          Then the obvious answer to both is that we need to work on bringing that low-end up to somewhere more reasonable. Such that a basic American education (eventually internationally) includes that sort of basic common sense.

          The government very clearly saw what happens when you have a well educated youth during the 60's. The fact that public education has been on the decline since those days is no accident.
          It is much easier to control a populace which is fat, dumb and happy. They got the first two down, now they just need to figure out the happy part and their job is complete.
          • now they just need to figure out the happy part and their job is complete.

            Which makes the War on Drugs so much harder to understand...
          • by phantomlord (38815) <slashdot&krwtech,com> on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:25PM (#15679486) Journal
            The government very clearly saw what happens when you have a well educated youth during the 60's. The fact that public education has been on the decline since those days is no accident.

            Who do you think taught the last couple generations? Perhaps these "well educated youth" suffer from a bit of hubris and decided they knew better than everyone else so they introduced new teaching methods which they thought would be better and those methods have failed. Nah, educated people would never claim that they have a new solution then admit a failure of their own making when it doesn't work out, lets just immediately jump to a nationwide conspiracy. Who's fault is it this week, the Free Masons or the Illuminati?
          • The government very clearly saw what happens when you have a well educated youth during the 60's.
            What?
            Drug taking and dance music?

            Stupid people can do that too you know. They just don't get fenced off nature preserves called "college" to do it in.
          • by Chysn (898420) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:28PM (#15679518)
            It is much easier to control a populace which is fat, dumb and happy. They got the first two down, now they just need to figure out the happy part and their job is complete.

            Fat, dumb and happy is okay; but fat, dumb and afraid works, too.

          • The government very clearly saw what happens when you have a well educated youth during the 60's. The fact that public education has been on the decline since those days is no accident.

            Your post suggests a conspiracy theory which is

            (x) paranoid
            ( ) delusional
            (x) impossible to confirm
            (x) impossible to refute

            Specifically, your theory fails to account for

            (x) Stupidity of the general population
            (x) Lack of a centrally controlling authority for conspiracies
            (x) Failure to mention the Illuminati
            (x) Facts can be expl

    • by fermion (181285) * on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:45PM (#15678662) Homepage Journal
      Which is to say that if we wish to control people, we must always push them to edge and see if they fight back. For most people, they simply do not have the suffucient level of cynism to fight against these attacks. I think it is sweet.

      It is like all these meaningful parents feeding thier kids junk, buying them junk, not knowing any better because why would the government let stuff be sold to kids if it weren't safe? All these people buying SUVs, driving them inappropriately, and then complaining that they roll over. All these people smoking in the last 40 years, and now complaining they have been taken advantage of. The first reports on the harm of smoking were published in the 19th century folks. The list goes on. We have to hassle anyone named Muhamod for out own safety. We have to get rid of all guns for our own safety. We have to allow all conversations to be monitored for our own safety. God and his appointed prophets will save us, we don't need to think.

      • yeah, yeah, yeah. Some people started to notice some of the dangers of smoking in the 19th Century. So what -- there were ads with the show's stars or "doctors" recommending specific brands of cigarettes into the 1950s, and the first gov't mandated warnings didn't appear until the late 60s. Even then tobacco companies threw up a smokescreen for decades.

        But that misses the broader point that one of the best predictors for whether you will smoke (iirc) is whether your parents or other close relatives smoke
    • by mmalove (919245) on Friday July 07, 2006 @04:22PM (#15678996)
      You don't have to buy something from the pop up ad. There exists a phenomena most marketers are aware of, that when you have several brands of a product to choose from, most people narrow their choice down to a grouping of 2-4, usually by "hunch" or "intuition", before making any drill down comparisons. It's a compromise of search breadth vs search depth. The pop up's main goal is to preprogram their brand as one of your intuitive choices - if you happen to click and purchase directly then that's an added bonus.

      As for stopping the local infection version of the pop up - write a letter to your congressman. Tell them that instead of worrying whether or not gays can be gay, or a dissident can burn a flag in protest of his governments actions, maybe they could write a quick law that makes it illegal to install software on another machine without the owner's explicit consent. Then the websites that distribute this shit will have fines to pay, sucking the profit right out of the whole scheme.

      (Oh noes, a spammer might lose his job!)

      Here's an interesting website, not sure if they read the letters sent but at least it's a start:
      http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/ [congress.org]

       
    • I think the real problem is that people will buy stuff from ads that randomly pop-up on their computer. And worse, those ads are the most effective kind?? I mean, if we could get people to wise up and not purchase sketchy stuff from spam or adware, then evil companies would stop making it.

      You know, lately I've come to wonder whether any of that is really all that true. Sure, given a large enough pool you will eventually find some number of people who will respond to spam. But is it really profitable? Are

  • That's No Excuse (Score:3, Informative)

    by Squiffy (242681) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:07PM (#15678286) Homepage
    'Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.'

    That doesn't make it okay to be the one imposing the injustice.
  • by jamestheprogrammer (932405) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:09PM (#15678305)
    From the article:
    From early on, a small group of programmers at Direct Revenue focused on how to protect their employer's programs once they were lodged in a computer, current and former employees say. The team called itself Dark Arts after the term for evil magic in the Harry Potter series. One of the biggest threats Dark Arts addressed came from competing software. The presence of multiple spyware programs can so cripple a computer that no ads manage to get seen.

    In my opinion, spyware that purposely damages other software without user consent(even if the target software is spyware) is really just a virus, trojan, or something like that. Seriously, these people need to just chill out and stop screwing with everyone's PCs.
  • by andrewman327 (635952) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:10PM (#15678315) Homepage Journal
    TFA describes their "pride over technical cunning." I never thought about those people trying to bypass my popup or spam blocker actually being proud of their spawn.



    Also from TFA: "Spyware rakes in an estimated $2 billion a year in revenue, or about 11% of all Internet ad business, says the research firm IT-Harvest. Direct Revenue's direct customers have included such giants as Delta Air Lines (DALRQ ) and Cingular Wireless. It has sold millions of dollars of advertising passed along by Yahoo. And Direct Revenue has received venture capital from the likes of Insight Venture Partners, a respected New York investment firm."


    People need to learn to stop following links that anger them! If no one purchased goods and services from these irritants, they would lose their 11% market share and slowly go away. I subscribe to Netflix, but I would never follow one of their links from a popup.

    • TFA describes their "pride over technical cunning." I never thought about those people trying to bypass my popup or spam blocker actually being proud of their spawn.

      Technical cunning maybe, but not a lot of smarts. If I'm going to go to the trouble of installing a spam/popup blocker, or of running AV software, or trying to delete their software, that ought to tell them I don't like the pop-ups. If I hate the pop-ups, I'm not gonna buy off them, regardless of the deals they offer. So it seems that any
    • People need to learn to stop following links that anger them!

      Just like they need to stop clicking on every link in every email they receive, yes?

      Everybody did that after LoveBug and Melissa, and now very few pieces of malware spread by email. Isn't that right?
  • In the end.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mr.cbaker (669550) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:10PM (#15678322) Homepage
    In the end, Google knows how it's done. I find I much more often induldge in either clicking on or glancing at an unobstrusive (and generally relevant) google ad than I do any annoying popup which causes me nothing other than to feel contempt for the company who pulled it on to my screen. Sneaky and dirty marketing is just distasteful, and they should know that it reflects poorly on the company and the product. I suppose it still works well on people like my grandmother, who believe they are in fact the 5000th visitor.
    • Re:In the end.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:41PM (#15678615) Homepage
      In the end, Google knows how it's done

      Google isn't above questionable behavior, though. Look at their new payment service. Basically, if you are selling something, you can put a link on your order page that lets your customer use Google to handle the payment. Sounds pretty cool, right? However, one of Google's requirements is that you have that link on every ordering page of yours, and they require that the link includes the image they supply from their server. You can't make a local copy of the image on your server. You have to reference the image on their server from your page.

      What this means is that everytime someone buys something through your site, even if they don't use Google to pay, Google gets a hit on that image. So, Google gets an accurate count of how many people visit your order page, and gets their IP addresses.

      If they correlate that with searches from the same IP address, they are getting a hell of a lot of valuable information.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:41PM (#15678618)
      As only ads I've ever bought anything from. The reason is they are the only ads that are around when I'm thinking of something. We needed an Optura Xi camera for work. So I punched in "Optura Xi". Lo and behold there's a link to B&H on the right hand side offering it. Clicking it took me not to their front page, but to the camera itself. 5 minutes later it was a done deal.

      I'm not going to buy from random popup ads, they are never selling what I want when I want it. It's not just that Google ads are onobtrusive, they are relivant. They are what I searched for and they generally take me right to the product page.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:10PM (#15678324)
    I love how these articles talk about "your computer" as if everybody in the world is running Windows. They don't even mention that Mac and Linux users don't have these issues. Just a little mention that there is an alternative, is that too much to ask??
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "I love how these articles talk about "your computer" as if everybody in the world is running Windows."

      >95% is close enough to "everybody" for most intents and purposes.
  • by ic4x0r (985346) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:10PM (#15678325)
    "You people are EVIL personified," Kevin Horton wrote around the same time. "I would like the four hours of my life back I have wasted trying to get your stupid uninvited software off my now crippled system."

    indeed! these people should be held liable for the damage done and time wasted. it's unpleasant to think that there are actually people behind obnoxious spyware, and that they think that pissing people off is the best way to get them to acknowledge the adverts and buy whatever they're selling.

    • indeed! these people should be held liable for the damage done and time wasted.

      Send them a bill for your time and file a small-claims suit if they don't comply, they'd rather pay you then be hassled (sound familiar).
  • How to make a dent (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Demon-Xanth (100910) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:23PM (#15678439)
    Make the companies (and thier owners) liable for the cost of fixing the PCs they infect, and allow people to take these companies to court over the cost of repairing thier PCs.

    People on slashdot could hire eachother at $50/hr to fix eachother's PCs. And setup a revenue stream of about $200/week each. Even if 1% of 1% do it, with 1,000,000 PCs, that means that 100 people are sucking down a total of $20,000/week. I doubt the ad revenue from infecting 1M PCs is $1M/year.
    • This is worthy of a follow up.

      Shouldn't the dirty tricks that spyware software uses to infiltrate computers, should that be a violation of the DMCA?

      According to chillingeffects.org (http://www.chillingeffects.org/anticircumvention/ faq.cgi), this is the definition of circumvention:
      ----
      Question: What does circumvention mean?

      Answer: Circumvention, according to Section 1201(a)(3)(A), means "to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impai
  • Dup? (Score:2, Troll)

    by mcmonkey (96054)
    The Plot To Hijack Your Hard Drive [slashdot.org]

    Oh sorry, that was about a different unscrupulous company.

  • The Real Goal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kazrael (918535) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:27PM (#15678476) Homepage
    The real goal of this type of advertising is not necessarily to get you to buy from them. Most of us, especially the computer savvy ones, would never buy from a popup add. But the simple fact is, we've seen them. We notice them, judging by the comments on /., which means the advertisers have done their job. They are getting a company's name and/or product out and NOTICED. Cingular and Netflix could make 0$ in sales from popups, but they certainly can claim they have been viewed by more users and more times due to this type of advertising. Coke doesn't put a purchasing phone number on their TV commercials (comparable to the ability to click on a popup directly to a sales site), yet plenty would say that Coke simply having commercials increases recognition and/or sales.
  • Clicking on ads (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:27PM (#15678479) Homepage
    I've never clicked on an ad in my life. Except maybe by accident when the site's navigation is right near the ad. I just did a random survety of my coworkers. They all said the same thing without my prompting: That they only have done it by accident, and can't think of any specific ad they ever clicked on.

    Is ad revenue no longer based on pay-per-click? Because if it is, I don't know who is clicking on them.
    • I do every now and then. But the product has to be interesting to me... I'll click on ads in /. or on tech news sites. When I was shopping for a new digital camera, I clicked on a few of those ads, same as when I am currently shopping for a laptop. Some crappy sites come up, but this is where I can find the product I actually want. I figure it's worth it.
  • Microsoft's popups (Score:2, Insightful)

    by texaport (600120)
    Microsoft's TAKE-A-SURVEY pops up when you try to get
    their product that promises to protect you against popups:

    "Windows Defender (Beta 2) is a free program
    that helps you stay productive by protecting
    your computer against pop-ups"

    Hurry up and interrupt users again, before it is too late!

  • Windows Defender promises to protect users from "threats caused by spyware" (aka threats caused by bad design)

    'users may install a helper program, the Windows Genuine
    Advantage plug-in, to enhance their download experience'

    --
    Microsoft staff never sees this
    if they eat their own dog food.

  • weird (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kook44 (937545) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:43PM (#15678635)
    I interviewed at Direct Revenue about 18 months ago. It's funny to hear thier version of what they do - they simply call it "contextual ad-based marketing". The whole place seemed very sketchy and unprofessional. When the sketchy manager walked me past the group he called "forensic computing" - I instantly knew I was in a spyware factory. I met with some other sweaty, twitchy geek who asked me to solve some algorithmic/data-structure type problem. He was very persistent and specific - harping on the minor details. After I got out of there, I realized he was actually tring to get ideas for a problem he was working on - not tech-ing me for the position. Told the equally shady recruiter to f-off & turned them down for another offer. Glad I did it, but I'm shocked that they are the focus of an article on BW. Surprised they're even still around...
  • Nasty Products (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MonkeyCookie (657433) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:44PM (#15678647)
    How ironic. Just this morning, I was attempting to clean one of their pieces of crap, ABetterInternet, off of my wife's computer. They have made it really difficult to find their stuff and clean it off. It was a few hours before I had even identified what exactly it was, and although Adaware was aware of its existence, it was unable to remove it.

    Norton Antivirus was completely useless. I'm going to have to try a series of Spyware removal tools to get it off, I think. Maybe the kids will listen now when we tell them to use Firefox, and not IE.
  • by BeBoxer (14448) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:48PM (#15678686)
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. EULA's are a big part of this problem. Specifically, the way above board software forces users to accept pointless pages of legalese. It serves no real purpose, but trains users that it's OK, and in fact expected, that they should click through some agreement whenever they want to run a new program. But while the 'legitimate' software companies don't really get any benefit from the EULA's, the spyware folks depend on them to keep themselves out of jail. These fsck'ers would all be in jail without EULA's providing them cover. And if only spyware was making users click through pages of legal mumbo jumbo, users might actually stop and take notice.

  • White Salmon (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sazarac (621648)
    I don't know why people feel that caveat emptor (buyer beware) should apply less today than it did many years ago. Pop-ups and spam to me are the equivalent of P.T. Barnum unloading a bunch of tuna as "white salmon, guaranteed not to turn pink in the can". Especially with all the vendor/product/reseller review sites out there, one would think it would be easier for more emptorii to caveat. I don't feel any different about my grandmother thinking she's the 5000th visitor than I did when she bought that Ro
    • That's a different problem. In this case the problem isn't what they're selling, it's how they're doing it. Nobody (within the statistical margin of error) would agree to having an ad pop up 30 times/day, and have it crash four times/day on top of that. So how did this software get onto those systems again? Were users given reasonable notice and a chance to decline installation of this software?

      Compounding that is the "dirty hands" observation that legitimate companies do not go to extreme measures to k
      • BTW it might have been legal for P T Barnum to get cute like that, but there is no doubt that anyone selling tuna as "white salmon" today would be breaking several laws. We can shake our head at the person who believes in "white salmon" without ignoring the fact that the seller committed fraud.

        Right. These days, manufacturers are required to put the word "imitation" in front of "crab meat", in at least a 0.5pt font. But I wouldn't be surprised if you could actually get away with labeling tuna as "whit

  • one former Dark Arts wizard sighs and sums up his version of the company credo with an elegiac observation by abolitionist Frederick Douglass: 'Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.'"

    I can tell you that if any of these people submit a resume to me, they can absolutely count on NOT being interviewed. There is no room for people this lacking in ethics.

  • Love the attitude (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Bullfish (858648)
    Is it just me, or are these weasels begging for a DDOS attack. Their attitude about damaging other people's computers reeks of entitlement and self-rightousness. Would anyone cry if their servers were fried.
    • by lophophore (4087)
      No. Not a DDOS attack. That is completely illegal, and would lower you to (below?) their level.

      However... despite the distaste I have for lawyers, I think a class action lawsuit would be an appropriate retaliation. I would love to see the adware companies given a complete cash-ectomy, and that would make others think twice about it.

      I volunteer my share of the proceeds to the EFF.

  • Education! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kouroth (911586) on Friday July 07, 2006 @03:57PM (#15678766)
    Education is going to be the most effective way to put a stop to spam and other addware. There must be a massive campaign to teach people what spam is and how to stop it. Videos that come up when you first load a new computer should be included to explain spam and how to prevent it. Work places need to spend time explaining to employees what to avoid. Schools of all grades need to teach people about safe internet use. If the campaign was big enough it'd help a great deal, maybe even stop it all together. The problem is that people ARE clicking adds, they ARE buying junk from spam adds! If they no longer clicked adds, deleted all spam with out looking at it, I'd bet it wouldn't pay any more. Laws won't do it, attacks against spammers doesn't work. Our best way to fight it is to stop people from making it profitable. Once the money goes the adds will go too.
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday July 07, 2006 @04:22PM (#15678990) Journal
    What is this spyware people keep talking about? Now gnu flash is finished perhaps stallman should make it a priority to get an opensource spyware development going as well so we are not left behind.

    The article talks about "trailer cash" and that is indeed what this is about. Forget the scum spyware companies, instead consider the real culprit, the end user.

    I am not just talking about people still running Windows/IE, that in itself is stupid enough but it can be done safely.

    No the trailer cash people are not the victim of shoddy MS coding or brilliant spyware coding, they are the victim of their own greed and stupidity. Greed because the fast majority of spyware programs come from dubious source, P2P programs (and no they ain't using P2P to download the latest linux distro) and "free programs". It is similar to that "test" someone did were people gave away personal information on questionares for tiny rewards.

    Smart people know their is no such thing as a free lunch. If someone therefore offers you a free lunch this is probably because they want you to sit through a 3 hour sales pitch before. This is a sales techinigue I was warned about by consumer programs as a kid, that my mother was warned about even my grandfather and it is still going on.

    But even worse then the people that install this crap hoping to get something for nothing are the people who actually respond to the ads.

    Believe it or not but the entire ad business is about making money. Nobody is going to pay for an ad campaign that doesn't produce results. The sad fact is that these spyware and spam ads are very effective at producing sales results.

    It is here that the real problem lies. As long as people keep buying from these kind of ads someone will be serving up these ads.

    But frankly I don't see the problem. I guess I have always had a soft spot for scammers. They are such nice evidence of evolution in action. If you been infected by spyware that is natures way of telling you are to stupid to breed.

    Pity is that in our society it is the stupid who breed the most. Now with viagra spam they will become even better at it. The stupid are going to overrun this world. Good news for the spyware and spam people. At least these IT jobs ain't being outsourced yet.

    • >The stupid are going to overrun this world.

      I feel compelled to point out that people have been saying this since at least the time of Plato, more than 2000 years ago. This raises the question: have they? Is modern-day technology the result of the stupid having overrun the world? If so: bring on the stupid. If not: they haven't managed it in 2000 years so why would they suddenly start now?
    • If you been infected by spyware that is natures way of telling you are to stupid to breed.

      Can you spot the subtle irony in this sentence? I new you cud!
    • by crabpeople (720852) on Friday July 07, 2006 @07:50PM (#15680379) Journal
      Ah a spyware apologist how gay.

      "But frankly I don't see the problem. I guess I have always had a soft spot for scammers. They are such nice evidence of evolution in action. If you been infected by spyware that is natures way of telling you are to stupid to breed."

      are you high? You condescending elitest asshole. News flash *EVERYONE* who is not a knowledgable computer user gets spyware. It doesnt matter where you go or what you do, all it takes is one misclick and BAM. owned. Calling people who get spyware stupid is like calling people who get sick because they went to the mall stupid. IT HAPPENS. How dare you take the side of spyware companies and spammers. You can't honestly say youve never gotten any spyware, no family members or friends have gotten spyware, and that your some kind of a master for running linux. OOO yeah your so fucking special arent you. God damn it people like you need to be punched in the face. Soft spot for scammers indicates to me that you probably are a scammer. And i hate spammers and scammers so much it boils my blood... They have no honour.

      "But even worse then the people that install this crap hoping to get something for nothing"
      Sort of like when i download a file from sourceforge?

      "Pity is that in our society it is the stupid who breed the most."
      Translation: I think im smart and thats why i dont get laid

      god damn spyware apologists...
      * awaits -1 troll* i dont care because it had to be said.

      • Just like not every teenage girl who has sex gets pregnant and not every person who drinks drives a car.

        People like you who get infected by spyware just want the world to believe that it is not their fault, that they can't help it, that you are not to blame for your own stupid mistakes.

        It is the same mentallity that tries to ban games/movies/books because they make you violent. Blame everyone else but yourselve.

        Avoiding spyware and spam has nothing to do with computer knowledge it has to do with common s

  • Remember.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NalosLayor (958307) on Friday July 07, 2006 @05:53PM (#15679695)
    The key thing to remember in all this is that when it comes to advertising, you aren't the customer, you're the product. Cows can't complain to the farmer that the slaughterhouse isn't sanitary.

    As someone else said, you can complain to the people who buy the ad space, but like cattle, that's likely to be just as effective. Therefore, the only thing you *can* do is fight, with alternative browsers, adware removal tools, good browsing habits, and by warning the rest of the, ahem, herd.

    If we make the product unsavory, we can run the slaughterhouses out of business!
  • Jiu Jitsu (Score:3, Interesting)

    by beeblebrox (16781) on Friday July 07, 2006 @06:45PM (#15680024)
    I hereby propose a DRCFMSS:

    Direct Revenue Customer Funds Misallocation Screen Saver

    Basically, a virtual-machine-like sandbox that runs a DR-infected IE "clicking" on ads popped up as the "user" (networked spider/p2p agent) "browses" around, comparing notes with other agents and causing view and click fees to be charged to the asshat corps that pay DR for ads.

    You can even choose to participate in specific campaigns: "Hey folks, we're 'doing' Vonage this week!".

    Then you can also compile nice tables to show the same asshats how much of their ad budget was pissed away in this fashion.
  • Then build better antimalware tools. It's simple. I have a bunch of machines under my 'domain' and no matter how much you tell people what to do they don't. So don't make people download updates, don't make people run the scanners, don't make people decide whether to run the realtime portion and don't ask them to interpret a warning message when it finds something. Or just go back and build a better OS and browser like I said.

    I can hardly wait till Microsoft takes over the desktop security space. Because th

Neutrinos are into physicists.

Working...