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  1. #1
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    Spyware from CDs?

    I'm forced to use my son-in-law's computer while I'm living in my daughter's house for a short while. A couple of days ago, I started seeing some new search toolbars in Internet Explorer. The owner said he'd loaded some games on the computer recently, but all the games were on legitimate CDs he'd bought at WalMart or the military PX. I'm not a game-player, but am I naive to think games on CD would not come with spyware on them?

    I ran Spybot S&D and got rid of most of this crap, by the way.

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Spyware from CDs?

    Lucas,
    I think you have to consider the source. Most major software companies scan their CDs and insure that they are clear of any virus or malware before they mass produce the Cds. Some of the smaller or less careful companies MAY not bother to do this.

    Then again the problems may have come from other sources rather than the Cds . Running Spybot and Adaware SE will usually get rid of them for you.
    BOB
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  3. #3
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    Re: Spyware from CDs?

    I'd disagree with your "faith" in the content of CD software here, Bob. Although virus scanning is usual (and expected) much "free" software carries spyware/ adware as its means of revenue generation. This is often even disclosed in the EULA (albeit via subtle or deceptive wording, more often than not). It is also often a stipulated condition of use that the spyware NOT be disabled or removed - so it's certainly considered to be a "legitimate" part of the software, at least by its author/ distributor. Basically, I can't see the "legitimate" CD content differing from any other source of such software in this respect. <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15>

    Alan

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    Re: Spyware from CDs?

    Lucas

    You want to look further than CDs, at websites which download adware/trojans/dialler software without you necessarily being aware of it.

    From machines at work, I've had to clean out various pieces of ad-ware (such as the notorious Gator/GAIN) and a couple of diallers (fortunately of little use on a LAN!) which users knew nothing much about other than saying "oh, I might have clicked on something...".

    This is where TeaTimer is useful, because you may or may not be asked whether you actually want to download software (which is some form of malware). The only way the malware can be run is to put something into the registry (or one of the other "startup locations"), so having TeaTime checking on changes to these locations is one of the few ways you have to prevent unwanted downloads. (Clearly it will also work for CD-loaded software, but then it's more difficult to know if the software installed is all legitimate, as has been mentioned in previous posts...).

    John
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  5. #5
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    Re: Spyware from CDs?

    One has to be careful.

    A few weeks ago, I was at the web site of Colgate-Palmolive, a major producer of consumer products.
    There was a link to download a $1 off coupon for a product that I needed to buy.

    When I requested the coupon, I was informed that I would have to install a "coupon printing program", not just download a PDF file.
    I can only guess that the program would have periodically presented me with offers, or whatetver.
    I find it difficult to believe that such a major company would try to install a program just so you can print a mere coupon.

  6. #6
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Spyware from CDs?

    Alan,
    You'll note that I said "most major software companies ", not freeware or sharware.
    You wouldn't trust MS or Intuit or Symantec or Intel or any of the other Big names to give you a "clean" CD? I would. <img src=/S/cool.gif border=0 alt=cool width=15 height=15>
    BOB
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  7. #7
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Spyware from CDs?

    If I were to buy Madden football for $30, I'd be fairly confident that there was no additional "consideration," but if I bought the bargain bin CD with "25 games for $4.99" I'd figure there must be some "post-sale" angle that keeps them in business.

  8. #8
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    Re: Spyware from CDs?

    What's major? Would Mattel/Broderbund (maker of kids games) be major? <img src=/S/wink.gif border=0 alt=wink width=15 height=15>

    See:
    http://www.pestpatrol.com/PestInfo/d/dssagent.asp
    http://cexx.org/dssagent.htm
    Keith Rodgers
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  9. #9
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    Re: Spyware from CDs?

    Sure, I don't think that the major companies would use malware in this fashion, since they get their money from the product itself... unless, of course, you consider WMP to be spyware until you turn off its phone home feature <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>. Or Intel's attempt some time back with its unique GUID.

    There are, of course, genuine rare exceptions too - like when a batch of (genuine) Windows installation disks from Taiwan landed in Australia infected with a virus. But yep <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15> I'd agree that major vendors wouldn't be involved with the sleazy malware racket, like some you'd get off the web or with disreputable free/share ware.

    Alan

  10. #10
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    Re: Spyware from CDs?

    Um, I believe there was a notorious instance of a Microsoft CD for Win98 that came preloaded with a virus. <img src=/S/blush.gif border=0 alt=blush width=15 height=15>
    Charlotte

  11. #11
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Spyware from CDs?

    Really?
    Never heard of that one. Must have been Apple trying to get revenge. <img src=/S/blackhole.gif border=0 alt=blackhole width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/innocent.gif border=0 alt=innocent width=20 height=20> <img src=/S/scratch.gif border=0 alt=scratch width=25 height=29>
    BOB
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    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

  12. #12
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    Re: Spyware from CDs?

    We were considering some form of online couponing a while back and it too would have required a 'coupon printing program'. The purpose of this software is to ensure that customers do not get to print multiple coupons, not to spy. However, I can understand your caution.

  13. #13
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    Re: Spyware from CDs?

    David

    If the coupon can be printed, then surely it can be photocopied? Even better if you have an All-In-One printer/copier/scanner...

    John
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  14. #14
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    Re: Spyware from CDs?

    Ayup, I had thought about that, but that's overkill.
    Imagine every company dumping such crud on our systems.

    Say a copy charges $10 for the product.
    Would they rather sell the product for $9, after use of a $1 off coupon, or not sell ther product at all, when there are alternative products.

    In any case, I am most certainly not going to allow a company to use MY computer resources to keep track of such things.
    That's their problem.

  15. #15
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    Re: Spyware from CDs?

    The 'post-sale angle' on a lot of the inexpensive game collection cd's I've seen at stores such as Walmart is that the games on the cd are shareware versions, so I give them the same reliability and trustworthiness rating as something downloaded from the internet. Basically the shareware is free, and the price you pay is for packaging and distribution.

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