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Fight back against sneaky scumware
August 31, 2001 7:37 AM   Subscribe

Fight back against sneaky scumware like TopText and Surf+, with this Javascript code by Gary Rosenzweig of CleverMedia. The code detects the scumware's presence, pops up a message letting the user know they're carrying a parasite, and then surveys the user to find out if they knew about it. In the first day of operation on his site, he discovered that 3.67% of his visitors had either TopText or Surf+ installed, and more than 90% of these visitors did not know until they were told. (Link to the Javascript code is at the bottom of the article.)
posted by cfj (7 comments total)

 
I have no background in these matters but can't there be some sort of class action suit agaist Scummers for what appears an invasion without permission to your "home"? It is sort of like planting a bug in your phone without getting permission from a judge etc, no?
posted by Postroad at 7:48 AM on August 31, 2001


Try reading the long EULA agreement before you install software, you'll see a couple lines about other software in there. When you clicked yes its all nice and legal.
posted by skallas at 7:58 AM on August 31, 2001


I would advise to run Ad-Aware on your machine.
posted by vowe at 8:01 AM on August 31, 2001


This site says it detects the TopText and Surf+ on your computer and site.
posted by daver at 8:01 AM on August 31, 2001


Ad-Aware is good. It gets rid of the nasty stuff like WebHancer which ties into your winsock.dll (the chunk of software nearly everything goes through to communicate with the internet) without breaking things.

Funny now we're defending the right to see the banner ads we were supposed to see.

Actually, it makes sense, as the banner ad market has tightened up and all. Those opposed enough to ads to run the various proxys and various other tricks to rid themselves of ads will just chuckle. Hopefully they'll consider whether the spyware itself is on their computer.

These 'scummers' will just take the next step and hide deeper in the computer. Suddenly all these virus and trojan authors might have a job. They won't register themselves so that they can be detected by the browser scripting engine, they won't even be obvious to a casual look at the filesystem. Maybe a brave anti-virus company will incorporate Ad-Aware type goodness in their software.

I think I've mused about this on Slashdot, but I bet more than a few of these types of programs are susceptible to buffer overflow vulnerabilities. What if the next code-red targets one of these?
posted by mutagen at 8:48 AM on August 31, 2001


Thanks for the link cfj. I just removed the offending software off my system!
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 10:47 AM on August 31, 2001


Ad-Aware is the choice here. It's a shame we can retaliate and plant parasites on the scummers computers.
posted by NJguy at 1:15 PM on August 31, 2001


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