Software That Spies On You

A whole bunch of Windows based packages install a "stealth .DLL" that assigns you an ID and reports your preferences to advertisers.

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Some Windows software packages, when installed on your system, also install a program module named ADVERT.DLL from Aureate Media Corp. (who just renamed themselves to "Radiate". This module permanently assigns your computer a user ID and buries it in the registry. When you are connected to the Internet, this module secretly and silently collects information about you and your preferences and habits and sends that information to servers that collect it for advertisers so they can more effectively target you.

Virus programs do not identify or remove this module. Further, if you remove the program that installed it, ADVERT.DLL remains and continues to function.

THE CURE:Steve Gibson has the cure, OptOut, at grc.com/optout.htm.

Advertisers that use this service include Flycast, 24/7 Media, DoubleClick, AdForce, AdSmart, TeknoSurf and others. The list of software that installs this module on your system is fairly long, but most are from minor software houses.

Once ADVERT.DLL is installed on your system, because of the way it places entries in the registry, if you remove it Windows 2000 will tell you it is a critical system file and will try to replace it from the Windows 2000 CD-ROM. This has caused some people to think it is part of Windows 2000, but it is not actually on the Windows CD.

A long winded explanation of what information they gather and what they do with it all this is provided by Radiate themselves. Note that Aureate Media prominently posts a privacy organization's seal. This seal is by a trade group who's attitude seems to be "anything goes", so long as you mention it in your privacy policy statement.

©:Andrew Grygus - Automation Access - www.aaxnet.com - aax@aaxnet.com
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