[Dshield] Toolbars & Freeware

Fuller, Kevin R. KFuller at DMV.CA.gov
Thu Aug 3 15:54:32 GMT 2006

Many makers of freeware and shareware bundle additional "extras" like
toolbars with their offerings. This is one way they can generate revenue
for their "free" software. Most of these extras are supported by spyware
and targeted adware that is designed to serve up ads and popups and
redirect you to retail sites that pay for this service. Since they don't
want to lose the hold they got on your PC they normally make it very
difficult to remove the software.

Rule of Thumb: If it's free chances are that It's likely to contain some
added "hitchhikers".  I follow the tip that Ed Skoudis handed out a few
years back in his SANs class.  Download from 3 different sites, run an
MD5 hash check on each, and run them in a controlled test environment to
see what happens.  The Sysinternals tools (Filemon, Regmon, TDImon) are
great for looking at what is happening in the background when installing

Kevin Fuller
ISD/System Test, DMV

-----Original Message-----
From: Glenn Jarvis [mailto:glennjarvis at uppergroove.ca] 
Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 8:27 PM
To: list at lists.dshield.org
Subject: [Dshield] Toolbars & Freeware

I won't get into details as this is a public list, but I received 
another one of those pleasant emails from a software download site 
offering me extra revenue. I checked into it and received an email from 
the company whom deals with this issue.Further investigation this 
evening showed some nasty reviews from people who downloaded the  
product only to find it contained a toolbar that they had a difficult 
time removing. Some had to remove the product completely to remove the 
toolbar. Certainly raises a red flag on this end. Many reviews consider 
it spyware or adware. How about you ?


Makers of quality children's entertainment software.

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