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  1. #1
    Affiliate Manager nish's Avatar
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    CoolWebSearch - 'Massive spyware-based identity theft ring uncovered'
    An article on 'massive spyware-based identity theft ring uncovered'. And the culprit is CoolWebSearch.

    Ecomcity would be happy to read this. He has been warning people about CoolWebSearch for quite some time.

    From the article:
    "... during the course of one of their recent investigations into a particular Spyware application—rumored to be called CoolWebSearch—they've discovered that the personal information of those "infected" was being captured and uploaded to a server."

    Story also covered at slashdot: http://it.slashdot.org/it/05/08/06/1...id=172&tid=158

    cheers!
    -nishith

  2. #2
    ABW Adviser Panel Dynamoo's Avatar
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    Oooh I do hope someone serves some jail time for this one..

    Innovative advertising with Slimeware Corporation and Telephore. Mail-order fuel with Petrol Direct.

  3. #3
    Affiliate Marketing Consultant Andy Rodriguez's Avatar
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    Then we wonder why more consumers are not shopping online and our industry does not flourish rapidly....

    These clowns are impeading the growth with all this activity. Consumer trust in ecommerce gets shot down each time a potential shopper reads about this...

    Jail time is the only effective deterrent....
    Andy Rodriguez Consulting, Affiliate Program Management and Consulting Services, Since 2001
    www.andyrodriguez.com | E: abw@andyrodriguez.com | P: (888) 931-ANDY (2639) | Skype: affiliatedoctor | AIM & MSN: AffiliateDoctor | Subscribe To Our ABW Forum Posts | Follow me on Twitter | Join Our Affiliate Programs

  4. #4
    Internet Cowboy
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    Just a matter of time before more and more of these folks get found out and get busted along with their distribution partners....like CJ.


  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager nish's Avatar
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    yup.. a harsh sentence.. and in the jail, they should be sharing cells with those big guys with tattoos bullying them around.

    cheers!
    -nishith

  6. #6
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Our money, spent at Sunbelt on anti-spyware software, is obviously being put to WONDERFUL use there.

    People ask what they can do to stop the madness - recommend Sunbelt to everyone you know! It wins awards for cleaning the crap off your machine. And their R&D will lead to more busts like the CWS report above.

    Sunbelt Software - makers of CounterSpy - and outing the bad guys:
    http://www.sunbelt-software.com/

    PCWorld magazine's most recent tests of which anti-spyware worked best:
    http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/artic...,121411,00.asp
    "CounterSpy is a clear winner"

  7. #7
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    And Sunbelt has an affiliate program - pays 50% for CounterSpy:
    http://www.sunbelt-software.com/Affiliate.cfm

  8. #8
    Internet Cowboy
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    Interesting poll on the Sunbelt home page regarding Weatherbug.

    Should WeatherBug be detected by antispyware programs?
    Yes - 81% 1723 votes
    No - 12% 261 votes
    Don't know - 5% 123 votes


  9. #9
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Thumbs up
    Well I'm awaiting word back from SunBelt to cease tagging network cookies (including Kowabunga LOL) for deletion by default. MS Anti-Spyware doesn't and their both clones of each other. Meanwhile I have SunBelt CounterSpy & their great Spam filter tool for Outlook and Outlook express on my site.

    Very interesting BUZ going on about a huge 29 MB drive-by download of crapware via Instant Messaging (IM) greynets... http://www.spywareguide.com/articles...er_ope_75.html

    Wayne Porter has snooped into this consortium of Adwhores doing the nasty on all IM clients to infest systems with Adware/Spyware. Networks and the usual suspects are all behind keeping the "infestation game" going for the BHO commisson thieves. Good read over at "you know where".
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  10. #10
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity
    Well I'm awaiting word back from SunBelt to cease tagging network cookies (including Kowabunga LOL) for deletion by default.
    Excellent point. Shame on me for forgetting this critical point! Mike, get them to hault the cookie munching so we can promote them!

  11. #11
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Pressure has to come from the group, especially the Kowabunga affiliates. It appears the Spynet forum groups brand the network cookies as tied directly into monitizing the Adware/Spyware operators and their sleezy minions. I'll keep pressuring SunBelt, Ad-Aware and SpyBot S&D to not tag network cookies for deletion.

    If the networks made it a TOS violation to pay commissions on BHO installs this crap would cease.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  12. #12
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    If the networks made it a TOS violation to pay commissions on BHO installs this crap would cease.
    If enforced...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Andy Rodriguez wrote:
    Then we wonder why more consumers are not shopping online and our industry does not flourish rapidly....

    These clowns are impeading the growth with all this activity. Consumer trust in ecommerce gets shot down each time a potential shopper reads about this...

    Jail time is the only effective deterrent....
    EXACTLY! My fingers didn't move to type those words, but those are my feelings to the letter.

    Andy

  14. #14
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Well our getting educated on the "infestation" games played by the cybercriminals operating the Adware/Spyware BHO's helps to sharpen out resolve. NO COOKIE CAN BE SET WITHOUT A PHYSICAL CLICK ON A NETWORK AUTHORIZED LINK. Seems like the Adware folks are hiring 3rd party's to install their crapware via IM drive-by install links and the P2P network bundles of both copywrite theft and hidden BHO's.

    http://pcpitstop.com/spycheck/badtorrent.asp "PC Pitstop has previously examined the dangers in P2P software bundles but there are also dangers in the files you can get from these networks. Last week, Chris Boyd (a.k.a. PaperGhost) of www.VitalSecurity.org published the first public information of spyware installs created by a company named Marketing Metrix Group (MMG). In many ways, though, that is the last chapter of the story. During May and June, MMG was pelting BitTorrent sites with a steady stream of spyware-infested downloads. The incident shows how the adware industry lacks either the skill or the will to police their distribution channel, and how users are usually the victims of their shortcomings.

    Spyware Extravaganza
    The first time I encountered one of the MMG files in mid-May, it installed a witch's brew of spyware, adware, trojans, and toolbars. The payload included 180Solutions, BargainBuddy, ExactSearchBar, IBIS Toolbar, ContextPlus, ShopAtHomeSelect, Direct Revenue, and UCMore. Several other pieces of software were running that provided their owners with an ongoing ability to install anything they might require in the future...." http://pcpitstop.com/spycheck/badtorrent.asp

    Great article on the sneaky ways BHO's trick folks into downloading unwanted Adware/Spyware... http://pcpitstop.com/spycheck/antispywareblues.asp

    ____________________________

    PaperGhost .. http://www.vitalsecurity.org/2005/04...-revealed.html
    "Yep, you heard me - there seems to be a massive network of backdoor install points floating around in IRC land, and Spazbox is at the heart of it all. Well known in underground circles, Spazbox (it turns out) is a notorious IRC network devoted to filesharing, Warez and all the other garbage that clogs up networks with Trojans, Viruses and (probably) screaming Swedish porno..... "I had hoped to take a trip into Spazboxville (accompanied by a couple of priests and a bucket of holy water), but so far all my searching has turned up a bunch of channels about horseracing, alt.geekdom and some nervous script-kiddies who kept calling me a Narc. If anyone actually finds the elusive IRC network, let me know because in theory it should be rather hard to hide something with 4,000-odd channels. Problem is, there are only about 200 human users - the rest of the 30,000 inhabitants are bots.

    That's right - there's anything up to 29,000+ bots waiting to do...what? And what exactly is the hook being used in the IRC realm to redirect all those end-users to Spazbox.net? ...Gotta Love the writing skills of PaperGhost!!! http://www.vitalsecurity.org/2005/04...-revealed.html
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Rodriguez
    Then we wonder why more consumers are not shopping online and our industry does not flourish rapidly....

    These clowns are impeading the growth with all this activity. Consumer trust in ecommerce gets shot down each time a potential shopper reads about this...

    Jail time is the only effective deterrent....
    Some people are comfortable stealing pennies while other people are comfortable stealing millions of dollars.

    Put the organized cyber-criminals in jail.

    RadarCat
    __________________________
    Great OS/2 Warp Software !!
    http://www.os2warplinks.com

  16. #16
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecomcity
    Pressure has to come from the group, especially the Kowabunga affiliates. It appears the Spynet forum groups brand the network cookies as tied directly into monitizing the Adware/Spyware operators and their sleezy minions. I'll keep pressuring SunBelt, Ad-Aware and SpyBot S&D to not tag network cookies for deletion.
    Mike, imo, we need a separate thread dedicated to this subject.

    We, as a community, need to find an anti-spyware application that we can endorse - one that preserves legitimate and harmless cookies that we rely on to earn our incomes.

    SunBelt keeps winning awards for cleaning the bad stuff off of PCs.

    And they're standing up to the bad guys like no one else (in terms of NOT downgrading legitmate threats as others have).

    And they're working with authorities to report and expose very bad actors - like the identity theft ring.

    If their app left our harmless aff tracking cookies alone, we'd be in happy!!!

    We could promote their products with vigor and belief in its value to consumers.

    And earn their 50% aff commission along the way.


    What can I do to assist you with your work and communications with SunBelt, the makers of CounterSpy?

    Please PM me if necessary.

  17. #17
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    PS - Kowabunga is my middle name...

  18. #18
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Nice News folks as it's confirmed I was 100% correct. Sunbelt followed suit with Microsoft and for months now their CounterSpy application DOESN'T tag major network cookies for deletion by default. The CounterSpy users have to purposefully tag LS -Bfast -CJ and Performics cookies for deletion. Kowabunga and SAS are imune to cookie tagging too. Now some 3rd world networks monitizing the drive-by and hidden bundling affiliare CpC or Lead sleazeballs get tagged.

    _______________

    Hi Michael,
    I was forwarded your email message to our 'Contact Us' form.
    And, I read the forum page that you linked.

    The guy with the screenshot is using an old version of Counterspy.
    Older than 1.0.29 You were absolutley right to say that CounterSpy
    does ignore network cookies by default. He on the other hand is
    living sooooo 6 months ago. When you reply to him be sure to tell
    him Sunbelt would like to welcome him to the present-time if and when he
    arrives : )

    Please let me know if I can do anything to help you further.

    Regards,
    SANDY

    Sandy Vandebult
    Internet Marketing Specialist
    email: Sandyv@sunbelt-software.com
    Voice: 1-727-562-0101 261
    Fax: 1-727-562-5199
    Web: http://www.sunbelt-software.com
    Physical Address:
    101 N Garden Ave,
    Suite 120
    Clearwater, FL, 33755
    United States
    ___________________________

    Official: Sign up for the SunBelt affiliate program and use this one to whack the Adware/Spyware Adwhores while making some money. Too bad CJ and LS didn't listen and waive the startup fees and host this company. Guess whacking their hidden cash cow partners and professional spammers doesn't make dollars & cents. I offered to make them up a animated group of banners as they're mostly IT geeks at SunBelt.


    Forget the half measures and whimpyness of MS ...get the real thing?
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  19. #19
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    I just completed testing all of my own aff cookies - SunBelt CounterSpy didn't touch them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And I have it set to the defaults all around - where it looks at cookies - I loaded my machine up with cookies galore and it zapped 7 of 38 of them - all the wicked vicious types that I ***** and moan about constantly - the companies that suck my caboose - their cookies are zapped by SunBelt CounterSpy.

    And I retract post #10 above.

    SunBelt CounterSpy's site now says it removes "spyware cookies". I've had a dialog with them and they have been concentrating on technologies to identify cookies used by spyware apps - so they can leave ours alone.

    And hey - they pay 50% commission on sales of their product.

    Let the FREAKING PIGEONS LOOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go get their 15-day free trial version and test your affiliate cookies!!!!!!!!!!!

    Report back here if you have any legitimate cookies that get zapped.

    Otherwise, let the affiliate promotions BEGIN!!!!!!!!!


    SunBelt, SunBelt, SunBelt!!!!

    Dig the links in posts #6 and #7 above!!!!!!!

    Somebody pinch me - this seems too good to be true!!!!!!!!!!

  20. #20
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Mike, ditch that wimpy Microsoft Anti-Spyware logo.... they're downgrading real threats over at MS... time for deodorant made for a man... switch to SunBelt CounterSpy!

    Pinch me?

  21. #21
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Talking
    I'd sure like to see Sunbelt target every neuance of the CoolWebSearch (CWS) group of Adware and Spyware. I spend 7 hours today exorcising a XP system for a client. The various CWS installs ( all required manual removal steps) included a combo of 7 replicating/renaming Trojan backdoor installers and a real bugger About:Blank browser hijacker.

    It was fun to see PriceBandit and multiple installs of SAHS, Aurora's ABI network, Gator, some text underliner BHO and side search trash the merchants sites with a slew of popups and redirects.... Damn 3 GHZ XP system was slowed to a crawl with 317 virus infected files all bundled by the Adware installers. I'd love to send the bill to the networks monitizing this crap. I only had MS Anti-Spyware, Adware & SpyBot R&D... plus a new install of AVG Anti-virus to pull this crapware out by the roots in safe mode. I Googles the ones that kept appearing for manual instructions.

    Were's my free copy of Counter Spy?
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  22. #22
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Dude - this news is big - lets open a new thread in the midnight cafe where everyone is at. CounterSpy worked great on my test machine through a battery of tests I fired at it. We need other affs to test it.

    I think this is a great development!

    You want to open the thread you little vocal affiliate award winner you...?

  23. #23
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Mike, put the duct tape and the parrot down and go open a new freaking thread in the midnight cafe about SunBelt's not killing affiliate cookies...

    Cuz in a minute, I'll be telling your story there and it'll be all wrong...

  24. #24
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Haiko should donate a Forum to them if SunBelt will buy banner Ads here. Heck I offered them my artwork skills for the banners... guaranteed to entice clicks!

    Some Sunbelt folks will come and respond to all as they definitely want the affiliates (victims) getting the works out on a pay-per-sale basis. I've never used CounterSpy but have both the Giant Win98-XP) and MS-Anti-Spyware (Win2000-XP) on all my cleaned clients sytems.

    You can bet the add-on to this thread is sending shivers to the CoolWebSearch perps and their Weather Bug and Screensavers sponsors.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  25. #25
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    I just tested a grunchload of CJ and LinkShare cookies too. The active agents didn;t block them when they were written and a deep scan by CounterSpy... is running now....

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