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IE Service Pack 1 w/ Alexa!
spyware in new IE download
keyplyr




msg:620170
 8:50 pm on Sep 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

The Windows Update page is offering the Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 as a crucial download with the usual rhetoric about fulfilling a great user experience on the web.

After installing this, I ran Ad-aware 5.83 (the newest version w/ the newest spyware definitions) to find out the Alexa extensions were now present in my machine. I have never (knowingly) downloaded anything from Alexa (until now.) I then ran RegCleaner and found it in the registry.

I removed all Alexa files and, so far, do not notice any problems with IE.

As with everything else, I'm sure there are many opinions of the, now common, practice of including hidden software without informing the user. I myself consider this a sneaky, unethical invasion of my privacy, and potential threat to my property. When did I give permission? I read the installation disclosures and did not see the name Alexa.

It seems to me that basic human rights are seriously being compromised at increasing frequency on the internet. As business technology evolves, considerations once thought of as standard ethics are fast degrading.

 

msr986




msg:620171
 9:11 pm on Sep 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

Confirmed, I had 197 Alexa RegKeys after downloading IE6.0 SP1.

IE6.0 also contained Alexa RegKeys, but to my recollection there were only 1 or 2!

So, I wonder if these extensions were active?

chris_f




msg:620172
 9:18 pm on Sep 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

Double confirmation 197. I've got a program on my machine that records all calls to the registry. There was only 2 calls made to the keys since I install the service pack about 3 days ago. Both calls we made during the installation. I therefore think, the keys were inactive.

Chris.

nancyb




msg:620173
 9:22 pm on Sep 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

I know I need to clean my registry but I'm scared of screwing something up royally! I also know I don't have the time now to fix it, if I do, so my question is - am I fairly safe using RegCleaner? I also have RegClean.

I know, I shouldn't be playing around with something I don't have time to learn but I figured you guys will tell me straight away if I should just leave thing alone until I have the time. Thanks.

msr986




msg:620174
 11:37 pm on Sep 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have used regclean in the past without problems, but other people have suggested to stay away from regclean.

BTW, regclean will NOT remove spyware. It only removes keys from uninstalled programs.

Best advise is to use adAware.

keyplyr




msg:620175
 11:43 pm on Sep 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

nancyb - RegCleaner has a feature found at: Tools > Registry Cleanup > Automatic Registry Cleaner that will check to see if the those keys are essential, if not it will tell you that it is safe for them to be removed by: checking the boxes, clicking Remove, then clicking Done.

It is advised that you back-up all registry entries prior to any change. You can do this manually with Windows folder tools or inside the RegCleaner or RegEdit software there is a preference to create back-up files.

Trisha




msg:620176
 5:04 pm on Sep 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know of a good tutorial about registry editing that they could recommend? I need to change things in mine, but have been too scared to do it. I have NT, if that matters.

Also, chris_f, where did you get the program to record all calls to your registry?

Thanks,
Trisha

chris_f




msg:620177
 6:29 pm on Sep 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

Trisha: chris_f, where did you get the program to record all calls to your registry?

It was built by me and a few of my colleagues. Sorry we do not distribute alot of our programs and this is one of them.

Chris

p.s. please call me chris

Trisha




msg:620178
 2:36 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

Chris - that's what I figured, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask!

nancyb




msg:620179
 3:36 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks keyplyr, the reassurance was what I needed to try RegCleaner. I used the auto clean up and was amazed that it diddn't find much to remove. Guess I keep this machine cleaner than I thought I did and just knowning that is good! Thanks again - Nancy

[edited by: nancyb at 5:49 pm (utc) on Sep. 16, 2002]

Macguru




msg:620180
 5:39 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

I am astounded.

M$ is passing users spyware for a critical update and this is all I hear?

I feel proud not beeing part of this herd.

No further comment.

Key_Master




msg:620181
 5:47 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

macGuru, it just gets old, that's all.

Come on- this is Microsoft [back to reality]. Does this really surprise anyone?

Brad




msg:620182
 6:04 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

This pretty well killed any chance that I will continue to upgrade any M$ products. It also cemented my plans to switch either to a Linux box or a Mac on my next computer.

I am glad that you folks reported and confirmed this, including spyware is just too much on top of all the security concerns. The warning is appreciated.

Now I must go and investigate the Linux and Macintosh forums here at WebmasterWorld. :)

Macguru




msg:620183
 6:14 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi Brad,

Rumors are you could soon install Mac OS X on your current PC soon. Without having to replace any hardware. You can switch to some linux flavor already.

Glad you picked the red pill.

Napoleon




msg:620184
 6:18 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> M$ is passing users spyware for a critical update and this is all I hear? <<

I suspect that's because so many people here understand, and have got used to, the nature of M$ and their complete lack of any decency or integrity.

Equally, too many people outside are totally ignorant of this.

Frankly, I wouldn't spit on them if they were on fire.

Brad




msg:620185
 6:34 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

I keep passing this information on to my friends. It is slowly getting through to them and they are starting to try new things like Opera, Mozilla and Netscape, etc.

I have found that recommending specific threads here at WebmasterWorld to the more tech savvy can be very pursuasive. Sometimes reading intelligent comments by real knowledgeable people can be more effective than just a magazine article.

Purple Martin




msg:620186
 11:08 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

We all know that we should never put in an e-mail what we wouldn't put on postcard.

What's so different about surfing the net? Don't buy online what you wouldn't buy in broad daylight in the highstreet!

Alexa records which sites you visit and where you shop. What's surprising about that?

We all know that the internet is not a private place. It's public, and everything we do online is being watched.

Don't expect to be able to avoid all the spies. Just accept that they will see what you do. It's not that sinister anyway, they are simply collecting marketing information - but what you choose to do and what you choose to buy is still entirely up to you. I really don't see what all the fuss is about.

dhdweb




msg:620187
 11:45 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

Its all about marketing and the ever evil MONEY!

Just think for a moment, you want a targeted audience to visit your sites, right? Why would you want someone looking for snowshoes on your site that sells widgets?

Alexa is nothing more than a marketing service, they are not spies.

Better be carefull of what you watch on cable, don't think they don't know what shows you like!

dhdweb

P.S. I do not condone the way Alexa was included with IE, but they are harmless.

<added>Hey, I'm a full member now!

P.S.S.
If you don't like Alexa, I sure hope you don't use the Google Tool Bar! They are the same program</added>

Macguru




msg:620188
 2:37 am on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>They are the same program

At least, the Google bar is a voluntary install, not a lie.

I see most Windows users, especially advanced professionals, got a really thick skin from reapeted M$ abuse on them.

Fortunatly, advanced professionals won't end up as Foie Gras. The rest will be forced fed whathever M$ shoves down their throat and Que sera, sera.

What a shame.

littleman




msg:620189
 3:20 am on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Really amazing, where is the press? I can't believe there is no mention of this on the geek news sites or Cnet.

I am really glad I'm out of this loop...

Macguru




msg:620190
 3:48 am on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>where is the press?

Notice to investors : Buy M$ stocks before the press hit it. This latest vampiric [geocities.com] stunt will be valuable on the market.

keyplyr




msg:620191
 3:58 am on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

I ended up dumping the whole Service Pack 1 / IE6 installation and just getting another copy of IE6, this time doing a custom installation of just the bare-bones (yeah right) browser. Same thing: ran Ad-aware and there was Alexa again. Couldn't find any added registry keys for it this time however.

And for those who feel there's no big deal with all this, you are definitely entitled to feel any way you want, however this is my machine and I do not give permission for M$ to intrusively add their marketing aliances to my set-up under the guise of "fulfilling a rich internet experience." The term "rich" of course refers to M$ and why they need to resort to this unethical tactic to sustain it.

ijan




msg:620192
 5:21 am on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

The "related links" feature of Internet Explorer is integrated with Alexa since IE 5.0:

[pages.alexa.com...]

This is a harmless extension, and in fact, it is nowhere to be found in my current IE6 SP1 setup - you should manually activate it by customizing your toolbar. I might have removed that button in the past, but the new service pack didn't put it on the toolbar either.

chris_f




msg:620193
 6:59 am on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

ijan,

I did not manually install Alexa and I have never had it on my system. However, after the service pack install the keys appear. Can you explain that?

Chris

dwhswebhosting




msg:620194
 7:02 am on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

I was wondering where that came from, it makes since now.

Someone needs to give M$ a taste of there own medicine, they keep getting more and more shady.

But what can you do?

Charles

ijan




msg:620195
 7:31 am on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

chris_f,

I don't know why those keys appear in the registry. Using a packet sniffer to see whether IE really sends information to Alexa servers without your knowledge may solve this issue once and for all. But still I doubt that Alexa is used beyond related links.

aek




msg:620196
 9:21 am on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm using IE 5.0 and I've just noticed that on my toobar I've got a Related icon which when I click on it goes to Alexa. Does anyone know if this has always been there? I've not downloaded a new version of IE.

kevchadders




msg:620197
 10:12 am on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Typical Microsoft...

I wonder if Bill G. has Microsoft on his PC at home... with all that spyware... i doubt it! :)

kevchadders




msg:620198
 10:25 am on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Here is an interesting link...

[imilly.com...]

apparently, you can fiddle with it so that it uses Google to find related links, instead of Alexa... it also explains why Alexa keys are placed in the registry...

celerityfm




msg:620199
 1:12 pm on Sep 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Trisha - You asked about a program that monitors the registry and shows you changes to it made by programs-- I recommend a freeware utility called Regmon [sysinternals.com...] . It basically shows you a live display of every modification to the registry. Good luck!

This 40 message thread spans 2 pages: 40 ( [1] 2 > >
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