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01/19/2005 Archived Entry: ""Media Files that Spread Spyware""

I thought I was getting jaded, but even my jaw can drop sometimes. From Groklaw I learned of this test performed by Ben Edelman, revealing how quickly you can be contaminated if you use Windows Media Player:

On a fresh test computer, I pressed Yes once to allow the installation. My computer quickly became contaminated with the most spyware programs I have ever received in a single sitting, including at least the following 31 programs: 180solutions, Addictive Technologies, AdMilli, BargainBuddy, begin2search, BookedSpace, BullsEye, CoolWebSearch, DealHelper, DyFuca, EliteBar, Elitum, Ezula, Favoriteman, HotSearchBar, I-Lookup, Instafin, Internet Optimizer, ISTbar, Megasearch, PowerScan, ShopAtHome Select, SearchRelevancy, SideFind, TargetSavers, TrafficHog, TV Media, WebRebates, WindUpdates, Winpup32, and VX2 (DirectRevenue). (Most product names are as detected by Lavasoft Ad-Aware.) All told, the infection added 58 folders, 786 files, and an incredible 11,915 registry entries to my test computer. Not one of these programs had showed me any license agreement, nor had I consented to their installation on my computer.

All that from one "Yes" click to view a video file. Read the whole report; Mr. Edelman "follows the money" to find out who's behind it all. I tip my hat in salute.      —brad

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