[Dshield] ***SPAM*** Re: Toolbars & Freeware

Laura Vance vancel at winfreeacademy.com
Fri Aug 11 15:08:38 GMT 2006

One thing to keep in mind is that any add-on toolbar is going to track
what web sites you go to.  It may not be adware (pop-up windows), but it
definitely spies on your Internet activity.  Even the ones that claim
"our toolbar stops annoying popups" will monitor your activity and apply
targeted ads when you go onto the site that provided you with the toolbar.

Depending on your level of concern over Internet activity tracking, you
may want to also look at all of the sites that provide advertising to
all of the free sites that use banner ads.  A lot of them come up in an
IFrame and place a unique cookie into your browser that they can check
with any of their ads no matter what web site you surf.  They then keep
track of what sites they saw you visit (where they provide advertising
in an IFrame) and begin to get a pattern of your activity so they can
target your ads to your browsing habits.

We block advertising sites in our proxy here at work, because privacy is
important at a school.  Not to mention that we have a legal obligation
to protect the kids from not only illegal activities online but also
things that /any/ parent might not want their child to see.  I have seen
that advertising sites try to get people to click on them by any means
(ie. making it look like a popup window saying to click "ok" if you want
to make your computer faster, etc), and children are less likely to be
skeptical of those click-through ads, because they tend to trust
computers more than a lot of adults.

Anyway, this is all just food for thought.  :)

Glenn Jarvis wrote:

>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 ?

Laura Vance
Systems Engineer
Winfree Academy Charter Schools

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