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Privacy Web Browser 'Browzar' Branded Adware 113

DivineOmega writes "The recently released 'Browzar' web browser, based on the Internet Explorer core, is designed to protect a user's privacy whilst surfing the Internet and be an effective 'throw-away' browser. However many who deal with the removal of malware have flagged this software as malware. From the article: 'The application Browzar has been branded "adware" by many because it directs web searches to online adverts. Some technical experts also say Browzar, which claims to leave no trail of webpages visited, does not work. Browzar's developers say they are examining the feedback but strongly deny that it is adware.'"
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Privacy Web Browser 'Browzar' Branded Adware

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  • well, (Score:4, Interesting)

    by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @04:32PM (#16034160) Journal
    they failed in their objectives pretty completely there...

    I could go on to make jokes about an IE core, but that might be tacky (besides you'll have them in a moment anyway...)
  • by karmaflux ( 148909 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @04:35PM (#16034169)
    ...and nobody cares now.

    Releasing a closed-source Windows-only IE-based browser that claims to do things already done by other browsers is a non-story, especially on Slashdot. The discovery that it's adware can only be addressed with a single-word response:
    Duh.
    • by daeg ( 828071 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @04:37PM (#16034183)
      Just because you don't care doesn't mean others don't care. I found it interesting both times, as I am sure others did. Now if someone asks me or tries to use Browzar as a counter to the Firefox packages that don't leave trails, I can advise them that Browzar might not be all that it claims it is.

      Believe it or not, some Slashdot users might even be using Browzar thinking they are safe.

      Don't like it? Don't read it.

      I'm not sure why this is a YRO story, though.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) *
        > Believe it or not, some Slashdot users might even be using Browzar thinking they are safe.

        Then they deserve what they get. Anybody who didn't see 'scumware' written all over this the first time it made slashdot isn't cynical enough to survive out in the real world anyway.

        Rule 1. No company gives out a free download for Windows that isn't scumware when it first ships or silently turns into scumware the second the company is expected to show a profit. Zero. Even Netscape turned into scumware before i
        • by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @05:58PM (#16034414) Homepage
          You must lead a very angry lifestyle...

          There are plenty of perfectly good closed-source solutions out there, both paid and free. Unless you're one of the truest of true 'practice what you preach Linux zealots,' chances are that you're using at least one of them. Now exactly how you classify 'scumware' I don't know, we all know there's rarely a true something-for-nothing

          To the masses, open source doesn't mean a damn thing. To slashdotters, it means a warm fuzzy feeling but, probably more often than not, nothing more. How much OSS are you using? Probably quite a bit, going by your cynical attitude. I tend to use an OSS solution when it's available in favor of something closed-source, for the principle of it if nothing else. Now the much more important question: how many times have you actually looked through the source code to make sure it's not full of shitware? I know for me, that's one, and that one time was when I was actually coding the thing. People always go on the assumption that OSS is safe simply because the source is available, but it wouldn't be especially hard to slip a trojan of sorts into a fairly mainstream piece of OSS (probably not something as large as Firefox, but of decent install-base anyways) and get thousands of people infected who were counting on the open-ness as a security blanket. Sure, you're screwed if it happens in a closed-source solution, but it would still take someone who knows what to look for and where to look for it (and, most importantly, is actually doing so) to notice something and then spread the word for open-source software.

          On the other hand, we've got Google. Everyone with half a brain knows they monitor absolutely everything they can, and want to know as much about us as possible. And they want to profit from the information. But we still use them. Maybe it's because they only want to use the information for their own profits and thus don't just bend over to the government; maybe it's because every other search engine does it too - but does it matter? I use google, everyone I know (except my moronic brother, but he's "special" that way) uses Google, and I'd bet that the majority of slashdotters use them as well.

          I've written things out of goodwill, as have plenty of others. Yes, for every one of us, there's probably ten more with bad intentions; that's life. The 'free' community has given me a lot, and I like to give back in some way or another. That doesn't mean that I want to open-source my stuff. Hate me for it all you want, but I'd like to keep my options open - that doesn't mean I'm going to chock my software full of shit for dirty profits. Maybe some people a bit less cynical had assumed that Browzar was just such an example, since they are out there.
          • Now the much more important question: how many times have you actually looked through the source code to make sure it's not full of shitware?
            I have actually looked on source of some programs, but not to search shit. This programs had some silly limitations, so I changed them. With closed source programs i couldn't do that, and this would really discard program for me.
            • by Jaruzel ( 804522 )

              I have actually looked on source of some programs, but not to search shit. This programs had some silly limitations, so I changed them. With closed source programs i couldn't do that, and this would really discard program for me.

              Sounds like you are (sometime) programmer. If so, instead of bitching about closed source programs, just sit down and actually write something useful from scratch... ...and then like the rest of us, who have done this, think 'Shit, this is a good app, I'm going to release it to the

              • I'm actually php programmer, so in fact I'm coding open source and living from it. I don't dislike closed source, I'm only telling, that if you know how, open source can be a little more tweakable and therefore more usable.
              • by Kjella ( 173770 )
                "I have actually looked on source of some programs, but not to search shit. This programs had some silly limitations, so I changed them. With closed source programs i couldn't do that, and this would really discard program for me."

                Sounds like you are (sometime) programmer. If so, instead of bitching about closed source programs (...)


                Wow, the standard for bitching must be low here. The GP was about looking at source. The parent just said he had been looking at source to tweak things, and fact is both open an
      • I'm usually pretty lenient with this kind of thing, but Browzar set off my bullshit detector, too. It's certainly not newsworthy, and at best, the story was free advertising for a product that, in the end, is pretty damn trivial.

        There was a similar story a few years ago about some kid who added a few very basic enhancements to an instance of IE for a science fair project and got all kinds of mainstream news coverage. It's like, wow, you figured out how to embed ActiveX controls. Grats d00d.

        I understand h
    • When the BBC posts an article about how this is a safe browser and it appears to be not true (in fact, perhaps it's Adware), then I think the article has risen to a high enough level that a refutal is in order.
  • Does anyone know any of the missing details from this story? Like what exactly did the browser leave behind? cookies? history files?
    • here [hanselman.com]'s the blog in question.
      Apparantly, it didn't delete all of temporary internet files.
    • by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @04:48PM (#16034214)
      a string of broken hearts
    • by dreemernj ( 859414 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @05:19PM (#16034300) Homepage Journal
      Browzar erased temp files and cookies that it created, but not ones that it altered. So, if you visit a site in IE, and then go and visit it in Browzar, Browzar will alter the cookies set by IE. And when you exit Browzar, it won't undo the changes to those cookies and it won't erase them either. For it to work as advertised it would really need to work without looking at any cookies already on teh system.
      • The problem is, simply erasing files after they've been written isn't good enough. Those files can be recovered. What it should do is store them in fixed (ie non-swapable) memory for the length of the session, assuming you have enough memory or don't store them at all.
        • by ajs318 ( 655362 )
          Depends if or not it zeros them out. If it actually overwrites the data on the disk, then it's not recoverable {anyone wishing to dispute this: please provide some actual evidence of actually-overwritten data, and not a copy of that data left lying around, being recovered}. If it just removes the directory entry for the file, then the data is recoverable.
      • I think lot of people are missing something here. If you set a unique numbered cookie on a first visit with IE, lets say to Gmail.

        Do some stuff on Gmail. Log off. Gmail stores the status against your cookie number, ON ITS SERVER.

        Close IE.

        Open another browser, log into Gmail. Gmail knows its you, as you logged in with your id/password even though the new browser gave no cookie, so you do "stuff" and log out. You close the browser, deleting all cookies before you do, the cookie is deleted form the new brows
        • If you log in to GMail in IE, it sets a cookie. You go to GMail in Browzar, it uses the cookie set from IE and can even update and change it. Because it was in place before Browzar started, its added to a do-not-delete list stored in plaintext while Browzar is running. When Browzar is closed, that cookie is not erased because it was created by IE, not Browzar. So, Browzar can access IE cookies, make changes, and won't erase any of those cookies when it closes, I guess out of fear of messing up what some
          • by Memetic ( 306131 )
            Hmm, interesting, not how it looked to me, i'll try and test it again. :-)
            • You can open the folder where cookies are stored and see it update them as you visit pages. You'll cookies created by Browzar as well. And when it closes, you'll see them disappear.

              I think the plaintext file with the list of cookies not to erase is created in the application data folder for IE. Just start browzar and drop the file created there into notepad to see what it found and is going to save.

              There could be more to it than that. That's just what I saw when I was fiddling with it when I first
    • Dumps stuff into index.dat that anyone can see on the machine. All IE browsers do this.
  • Software vendor pushes sales of proprietary software up with unsubstantiated claims and FUD. The said software is being framed as adware because of certain "features".
    News at 11.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 03, 2006 @04:38PM (#16034184)
    Let's look at a few things...
    1) It uses IE.
    2) It's a branded, closed source skin for IE that fails to do many of the claims that it makes
    3) Instead of actually creating something, they have to adapt it to something that is KNOWN to have many serious issues that...
    4) Allow malware/adware/spyware people to gain control of a browser to do their dirty work...
    5) Came pretty much out of nowhere. Full release without known betas,
    6) Doesn't work.

    Anyone who has been online for a while probably has had an experience or two with IE browser skins. Most of my experiences have involved devious search bars, plugins and other "enhanced content" that effectively monitors, controls traffic and serves ads. Not surprised in the least.

    If anyone claims to make a fully private and "secure" browser, while ignoring that you still have ISP and backbone logs, going through pipes and other servers that do their own logging... I'd have to, in my best technical opinion, call bullshit. Especially considering it still uses Internet Explorer as a rendering engine. (If that's indeed all it does.)

    Posted anonymously because I don't need no steekin' karma.
    • Can I also add:

      7) Came from the same people who were responsible for Freeserve.

      Which actually make the previous six easy to understand / believe / expect. Those of us who remember Freeserve, do not do so fondly. It wasn't Free and it only Served Ads.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The MAZZTer ( 911996 )

      If anyone claims to make a fully private and "secure" browser, while ignoring that you still have ISP and backbone logs, going through pipes and other servers that do their own logging... I'd have to, in my best technical opinion, call bullshit.

      What if it piped it's traffic through an encrypted proxy routing system like Tor [wikipedia.org]? Granted, even then you're not completely secure, but it's good enough for most purposes. The only possible downsides I see are:

      • Someone who is familiar with Tor and is sniffing
      • You forgot one major downside to using Tor in this application: substantially increased lag and unreliable connections. Now I'm not saying it's impossible to get a good connection through Tor, but in my experience, most of the time the problems are noticable enough to make using it for a commercial browser impractical. Your average user just isn't going to see the benefit in adding as much as a 10 minute delay to loading a web page in exchange for a little more privacy. (No this is not hyperbole- I have act
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      If anyone claims to make a fully private and "secure" browser, while ignoring that you still have ISP and backbone logs, going through pipes and other servers that do their own logging... I'd have to, in my best technical opinion, call bullshit

      It is easy to do - ssh into another machine and run the browser there and have X windows put it on your local display. On MS Windows there is the option of VNC over ssh or a VPN. Of course logging is done with respect to the other machine - so it has to be a two pa

    • Sure, but

      5) Came pretty much out of nowhere. Full release without known betas,

      ????

      You know, I remember a time when every respectable software title came out at version 1.0 "without known betas". The next version was very often 2.0. Nice and simple - and the software worked unbelievably well.

      This unprofessionalism of hacking togethers alphas, betas (several versions of beta :-o), RCs etc. is just not the kind of guarantee for good quality that you seem to imply.

      -The ppl who RTFA ommit the 'F', because t

  • Trail (Score:5, Informative)

    by debilo ( 612116 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @04:38PM (#16034187)
    How can they say it leaves no trail when it's based on IE? As far as I know, IE still keeps the browsing history in index.dat which cannot be deleted because it is locked by Windows. I doubt that has changed.
    • Re:Trail (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @04:55PM (#16034233)
      Exactly. It's some crappy VB / C++ / .NET wrapper around the IE control. All it can do is set some settings, fire up IE, wipe some settings and hope for the best. It is as vulnerable to spyware, adware, cookies etc. as any other IE-wrapped skin. It is a waste of time to even use the thing since it is snake oil. It is even hard to understand why the thing has garnered ANY attention since IE has been embedded countless times since it appeared as a control.
      • Heck, the naming seems odd (Browzar? Ick), more like some spammer or marketing nitwit invented it.
      • I wouldn't call it a "crappy wrapper". It looks really nice. I don't know how well it works because I was running it restricted and blocked by a firewall, but it looked really nice.
        • by DrXym ( 126579 )
          Skinned and skinnable versions of IE are ten-a-penny. Even apps like WinAmp and AIM have embedded IE browsers. Even NS 8.0 had an embedded IE browser (used for compatibility on certain broken pages). The selling point of this skin is that it allegedly protects your browsing habits when nothing could be further from the truth. IE has certain registry settings, and certain programmable interfaces that you could twiddle to modify its behaviour but at the end of the day it is a black box.

          You just don't know w

    • Re:Trail (Score:4, Informative)

      by rhvarona ( 710818 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @05:21PM (#16034307)
      It is fairly easy to delete.

      1) Open a command prompt, go to your user directory where index.dat is located, and search for the index.dat file:
      cd %userprofile%
      dir /s/b index.dat

      2) Open your task manager (press Ctrl-Shift-Esc or right click on task bar). Kill the explorer.exe process.

      3) Go back to your command prompt. Delete the file that you found in step 1.

      4) Start explorer again, by typing explorer.exe in the command prompt.

      BTW, this method is the easiest way to delete or modify all sorts of files that the explorer shell locks while running, without requiring a reboot.
    • by rifter ( 147452 )

      How can they say it leaves no trail when it's based on IE? As far as I know, IE still keeps the browsing history in index.dat which cannot be deleted because it is locked by Windows. I doubt that has changed.

      IE also puts all kinds of browsing history in your registry which is not erased when you erase history. Windows keeps a trail in 5000 places on your computer that, unless you manually attack all 5000 places, will ultimately betray you to someone who knows where to look.

    • by Tim C ( 15259 )
      As far as I know, IE still keeps the browsing history in index.dat which cannot be deleted because it is locked by Windows.

      It's locked by Explorer, and Browzar *is* Explorer. Besides which, you don't want to delete it, just save an empty version.

      Quite apart from that, if I were writing something like this, my first attempt would just involve telling IE not to save history in the first place (assuming that's possible).
  • Not a browser for windows that happens to be malware! Say it ain't so!
  • My thoughts (Score:2, Insightful)

    It's pretty funny how browzar is getting nailed for having ads mixed in with search results. Personally, I'm not too disturbed by this (but it would be nice if they pulled the ads aside). The more concerning part: the "selling point" of the browser is the anonymity and "no trace", which it allegedly fails to accomplish. Talking about false advertising....
    • "It's pretty funny how browzar is getting nailed for having ads mixed in with search results. "

      Well.. if it's redirecting results to adverts, it's basically advertising to other sites what you're searching for. That, in and of itself, is a privacy concern.
  • Last Page Cached (Score:5, Informative)

    by mikeswi ( 658619 ) * on Sunday September 03, 2006 @04:40PM (#16034195) Homepage Journal

    They've altered it a bit since the story on Digg. Now it opens to an Overture search engine form instead of a page full of PPC links. Same search engine though. It does save a cached copy of the last page visited in the cache folder, after you shut it down. No cookies or anything else was saved that I could see.

    Before and after usage log [spywareinfo.com]

  • is here: http://www.hanselman.com/blog/ANewPrivateBrowserI M eanBrowzarDoesNotWorkAsAdvertised.aspx [hanselman.com]

    Not that I would care much for some "enhanced" IE shell, but it makes sense for there to be such a market, of course. How do you know who to trust if you're not a geek reading tech news every day? Maybe google should have some kind of techmeme-ish related links to every site in a result.
  • Oxymoron (Score:2, Funny)

    by slidersv ( 972720 )
    Browser designed to protect a user's privacy which is based on the Internet Explorer core is an oxymoron oto my ears.
    Besides, how do you "BASE" something on closed source? Isn't it a fancy term of creating new front-end to the "same old same old" using an API?
  • Already been done... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Omicron32 ( 646469 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @04:55PM (#16034234)
    Firefox -> Tools -> Clear Private Data
    • Even better, Ctrl+Shift+Del
    • Did it ever occured to you that stuff written onto hard disk will usually stay there for a while even if the file is unlinked? I think Firefox only unlinks history and cookie files by default (and not shred them), and even shreding a file may not be secure if so happens that the sectors mapped by the hard disk got changed (because of bad sector). For a browser to be completely 'traceless' on the local machine (ISP, webservers log users anyway, but using Tor can mask that), it must use only RAM for storage a
      • Yes, it did occur to me. What I'm saying is, Browzar doesnt do anything to prevent data from being recovered from the physical disk, so it's still just as good as Clear Private Data in Firefox.

        You want untraceable? Linux LiveCD. Pretty much as good as it gets.
    • Safari>Private Browsing

      Doesn't write files in the first place, so there's nothing to delete.

      Very nice.
    • by guruevi ( 827432 )
      Even better:

      Safari -> Private browsing... it gives you even a nice warning that it doesn't keep forms, history or cookies in that mode.
  • Don't you think? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by adolfojp ( 730818 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @05:03PM (#16034254)
    Article summary:
    The browser is like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife.
  • ok, i know this doesnt make Browzar any less lame, but it can be modified to use the start page YOU want, and the search engine you want as well (to an extent). as a proof of concept, im hosting a zip file with 2 versions of the Browzer Black EXE. both use Google as the search engine. one uses Google as its start page, and the other uses my site as its start page. i have the file here (i may update the page at a later date with other stuff as well): http://xenomorph.net/browzar/ [xenomorph.net] i posted this one some ot
  • by AlzaF ( 963971 )
    Did they not say from the start that the business model of it was to make money through a sponsored search engine? http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/31/03 58225 [slashdot.org] For info, firefox can be set so that all locally stored data can be deleted every time you exit.
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Did they not say from the start that the business model of it was to make money through a sponsored search engine?
      Since they are using IE how much money are they giving to Spyglass? IE was free for two reasons - bury Netscape and screw over Spyglass who sold it for a percentage of future sales.
  • I would like to refer to my previous comment [slashdot.org] on the subject.
  • just another "use firefox" advert of course, I DO use firefox but still..

    does not surprise me, using IE as a core in an attempt to recreate something like firefox (which all this functionality you can easily do with ff and a few tweaks that take five minutes)

    moving along.. nothing to see here..
  • Thought I'd give it a try, but somehow, even the first time I used it, it was able to automatically log me into my google homepage. Seems a little odd for a browser that supposedly deletes all session data each time it's closed. No thanks...that one went in the trash...what a load of crap.
  • One of the points in the original slashdot story (http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/31/0 358225 [slashdot.org]) was that there would soon be a port to Linux, but how will they achieve this when it uses an IE core which, presumably, is a Windows only app?
    • Maybe they're just waiting for IE (and VB, if that's what they used) to be ported to Linux first =] Or maybe we'll see something that looks suspiciously like Firefox but with the word Browzar branded all over it.
  • lacking expertise? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by capologist ( 310783 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @05:46PM (#16034378)
    Many web browsers, including Firefox, IE and Safari, already allow users to do this manually.

    Mr Ahmed said at the time of its release: "Although it's possible to delete history folders and empty cache with existing internet browsers, the majority of internet users worldwide don't have the time or expertise to do this.

    In Safari, all one has to do is select "Private Browsing" from the "Safari" menu. Why don't all browsers have that?
  • Yeah they fail on removing files. I ran browzar (silver addition) in sandboxie http://www.sandboxie.com/ [sandboxie.com] and it left behind 34 files, 16 folders for a total 1.72mb of stuff that they claim shouldn't be there. You can view what was left behind here (zipped) http://rapidshare.de/files/31863264/Browzar_Stuff_ Left_Behind.zip [rapidshare.de] When I ran browzar all I did was enter fast car in the search bar at the top right, after going through 4 pages or so called search results all I saw was 40 results of sponsors. Yeah soun
  • I wonder if this program on my computer called "br()wz0r" is malware...
  • I stuck it on my usb drive because it was a small EXE, it was standalone, no installer, and the devs themselves say it's good for portable use. I didn't really run it through it's paces, but I'll probably stick with my Portable Firefox, which can clean my trail anyways, and doesn't rely on IE.
    • I just tried the included search engine as well as Google. I'm not seeing any adverts. I was going to try invalid domain names, but my comp is set up in an odd way so that programs can't tell if DNS requests fail, so they end up timing out instead of DNS failing.
      • by Phroggy ( 441 ) *
        I was going to try invalid domain names, but my comp is set up in an odd way so that programs can't tell if DNS requests fail, so they end up timing out instead of DNS failing.

        Out of curiosity... what causes this?
        • He uses EarthLink [slashdot.org]. :P
          • No, I'm doing it on purpose, for anonymity. I use Proxifier [proxifier.com]'s built in feature to forward DNS requests over a proxy... it's a bit weird but it works (I think it hooks the normal DNS mechanisms, and instead of doing a DNS it returns a bogus IP it saves. When a request for that IP comes along, it looks up the appropriate hostname in its look up table and sends that hostname over the proxy, so no DNS request is made. This also has the advantage of allowing Proxifier to see and report on hostnames as opposed
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday September 03, 2006 @07:51PM (#16034819)
    That reminds me of an article we had not too long ago here, dealing with the security of encryption schemes. This hits the same topic: How "secure" is what we consider secure?

    The browser was advertized as a privacy ensuring tool. Now we learn it is exactly the opposite. Which one is true? What claims can you rely on? What review is actually independent and "true"?

    The end result will probably be that the only thing you can actually trust (at least to a moderate extent) is open source software. For the simple reason that, even if you cannot verify its safety and privacy, peer review will work. Someone with the ability to read source will want to use it and thus review it, test it and determine its inner workings.

    This of course requires you to trust the system you build it on, the compiler you build it with, the libraries used in the process and so on. A very lengthy rewiew process, but still it is more secure and profound than anything you can reach with software that you can, at best (and only until DRM disables it), throw into a disassembler to get at least a clue of its plans.
  • If this is "badware", please fill out a Badware Report [stopbadware.org] at StopBadware.org.

    That organization has real promise for putting a dent into adware and spyware. With legal support from Harvard University and Oxford University, financial support from Google, Lenovo, and Sun, and assistance from Consumer's Union, they're in a very strong position to fight back. They're not going to cave in because some business complains.

  • Why is this even news? Why does anyone listen?

    This crap is based on IE. If anyone believes that an IE engine browser will be safe & private, I'd like to send you some information literature regarding some beach front land in Louisanna.

    *shrug*. This shit has been in the news for days now. What the fuck; it's practically a prank. There's nothing here to see folks, other than some moron pretending to release a browser by repackaging pure-shit. You're supposed to ignore stuff like this; just like the guy wh
    • It's news because by some bizarre stupidity of various real media outlets (including BBC [bbc.co.uk]), the original Browzar story was pushed far more than it should have been. When it comes to disguised malware, it is among the top contenders for the positive publicity it gained before being busted.

      Although anyone who read the first article in depth should have stopped after this section:

      Browzar is an "Internet Explorer shell". This is a program that sits on top of Internet Explorer (IE) to change the look of Microsoft

  • Want real privacy? Use the free open-source browser Torpark [nfshost.com]. Based on Firefox, comes with NoScript and Adblock, default config stores no history or cookies, your traffic runs through the Tor [eff.org] network, and best of all it can run from a removeable flash drive. Encrypt your flashdrive with TrueCrypt if you want.
  • Criteria (Score:3, Insightful)

    by headkase ( 533448 ) on Monday September 04, 2006 @01:04AM (#16035985)
    ... Browzar's developers say they are examining the feedback but strongly deny that it is adware. ...

    If it meets the criteria [microsoft.com] for spyware: (excerpt)
    Five evaluation criteria

    Microsoft researchers use the following categories to determine whether to add a program to the definition library for detection, and what classification type, risk level, and recommendation to give it.

    Deceptive behaviors. Runs processes or programs on the user's computer without notifying the user and getting the user's consent. Prevents users from controlling the actions taken by the program while it runs on the computer. Prevents users from uninstalling or removing the program.
    Privacy. Collects, uses, or communicates the user's personal information and behaviors (such as Web browsing habits) without explicit consent.
    Security. Attempts to circumvent or disable the security features on the user's computer, or otherwise compromises the computer's security.
    Performance. Undermines performance, reliability, and quality of the user's computing experience with slow computer speed, reduced productivity, or corruption of the operating system.
    Industry and consumer opinion. Considers the input from software industry and individual users as a key factor to help identify new behaviors and programs that might present risks to the user's computing experience.

    Then it is spyware/adware no matter how strongly the vendor denies it.
  • ... but instead sends all your juicy details to the mother ship. W00t!
  • I warned you all. I stand by what I have always ever said.

    The only way to tell whether a program is any good is to examine the source code.

    If the supplier doesn't want to show you the source code, the most probable reason for that is that there is something in there that they don't want you to know about. Back in the Classic Unix days, all software was distributed in source code form. You weren't necessarily allowed to pass copies about, but at least you could look at it and patch it. If the ugly t
  • it was Slashdot that first put about the browser 'Browzar' and how good it supposedly was - presumbly from reading the spec's and not actually testing it. makes you wonder how many other things this site has got wrong?

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin

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