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AOL "slapped with Badware Label"

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by lethal tupperwa, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. lethal tupperwa

    lethal tupperwa

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    AOL continues the same bad practices and problems it’s had since version 5…

    AOL 9.0 Slapped with 'Badware' Label
    August 28, 2006
    By Ryan Naraine

    The high-powered StopBadware.org coalition has slapped a "badware" label on
    the free version of the AOL 9.0 software program.
    The group, which is funded by Google, Lenovo Group and Sun Microsystems,
    accused AOL of installing additional software without telling the user;
    adding components to the browser and taskbar without disclosure;
    automatically updating software without user consent; and making the AOL 9.0
    software difficult to fully uninstall. "We currently recommend that users do
    not install the version of AOL software that we tested," according to a
    report released Aug. 28 by StopBadware.org.
    The recommendation is a serious blow to AOL, which is already struggling
    with user privacy problems related to the recent disclosure of search data
    of more than 650,000 users.
    The report said the AOL 9.0 software comes bundled with a number of
    additional applications, including RealNetworks' RealPlayer, Apple
    Computer's QuickTime, AOL You've Got Pictures Screensaver, Pure Networks'
    Port Magic, and Viewpoint Media Player.
    Click here to read more about Google's funding of the StopBadware.org
    coalition.
    "During the installation process the user is never clearly notified that AOL
    will be installing these programs. The inclusion of two of these
    programs—QuickTime and Viewpoint Media Player—is mentioned on a page
    entitled 'AOL Software.' However, to reach the 'AOL Software' page, the user
    must click on AOL's Privacy Policy (which is linked to from the third
    pre-installation screen), and then locate and click on the second use of the
    word 'software' on that page," the report said.
    For advice on how to secure your network and applications, as well as the
    latest security news, visit Ziff Davis Internet's Security IT Hub.
    Apart from this sole reference, the user would not even know that several of
    these programs—namely, You've Got Pictures, Pure Networks Port Magic, and
    Viewpoint—were installed on the computer unless the user went to the
    Add/Remove Programs feature, because these programs do not appear to install
    any links or files on the desktop or Start menu, the report added.
    The group said the StopBadware.org tests of AOL 9.0 found that the company
    uses pop-up notices to force users to download new versions of software.
    "Since this dialogue box has only one button—'Update Now'—and there is no
    'X' in the upper right-hand corner, the user [has] no way to close this box
    without clicking 'Update Now.' Moreover, this box appears on top of any
    other windows the user has open, taking up about 1/12 of the user's screen,
    which makes this dialogue box almost impossible to ignore," the group said.
    Forcing users to perform certain actions in this manner is unacceptable
    behavior, the report said.
    It also chided the company for adding the AOL Toolbar to users' Internet
    Explorer browser without warning. "Telling the user after the fact that a
    toolbar has been installed and then providing them with uninstallation
    instructions is not adequate disclosure," the group said.
    StopBadware.org said the AOL 9.0 software also adds two additional icons to
    Internet Explorer's default tool bar without adequate disclosure during the
    installation process.
    Click here to read more about "badware" accusations against Kazaa and
    others.
    The coalition also found that it was difficult to fully uninstall the AOL
    9.0 software. "After uninstalling AOL and all of its bundled components
    using Add/Remove Programs, at least two AOL processes continue to run:
    AOLServiceHost.exe and AOLHostManager.exe. It is unacceptable for AOL
    processes to continue to run after AOL has been uninstalled by the user,"
    StopBadware.org said.
    The coalition, which is managed by Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for
    Internet & Society and Oxford University's Oxford Internet Institute,
    discussed its findings with AOL and said the company plans to take steps to
    address the criticisms.
    "With regards to uninstallation, AOL says that a design flaw in the
    uninstaller mistakenly leaves executables running, even after a restart. The
    company says it is working on a fix, and in the meantime, that the
    executables do nothing even though they are running," the group said.
    AOL joins a list of dubious companies in the "badware" category. The
    coalition previously used the label on controversial peer-to-peer
    application Kazaa, rogue anti-spyware program SpyAxe, download manager
    MediaPipe and screensaver utility Waterfalls 3.
     
  2. Blitzer

    Blitzer Cool Cat

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    AOL software has been a major problem for a lot longer than they indicate. I had older versions of AOL software reinstall itself on my clinet's PCs, for years, after removing it from the pc! :shocked: :steamed:
     

  3. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine

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    Years ago when I first used AOL (at work) I thought it was pretty cool.

    Now I won't even work on a friend's computer that uses AOL.

    I just bought a new computer and I'm trying to get all the AOL "free stuff" deleted.
     
  4. Blitzer

    Blitzer Cool Cat

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    If the normal uninstall doesn't work, as we read it may not and there are lots of other extras added to your PC by AOL, try the next process outlined below.

    This process is not for the faint of heart and I recomned you have your data backed up on a dvd or cd and the recovery CD/DVD handy if you make an error.

    Use:

    START
    Run
    Regedit

    And search for aol deleting all entries you find.

    Shutdown and reboot.