DSL Reports: ASW Vendors in La-La Land

This is an amazing thread and I have been doing more lurking on the 23! pages so far for days.

It is amazing to me that Ad-Aware has taken the stance so far that they have. One would have thought that they would want to clear this up post haste.

And this morning, the link to Search the TAC is saying refused when you click the link Ad-Aware just gave in their forums yesterday (more strangeness, yet again). I didn’t post right away about this, I waited for over 2 hours before posting this. It has been refused since a little before 5am estern. Anyone else getting this same refused on the link?

Thankfully some of you have already seen it and posted some info about it here and on your respective websites.

I think that having a spyware removal program means you remove all known spyware. WhenU, NewDot.net, whatever.

I remember being very disillusioned with Ad-Aware when they left us all high and dry while they worked on their ‘new’ product (Ad-Aware 6).

I remember that Patrick (SpyBot S&D) picked up the ball and ran with it to help us continue to get rid of the crud off our machines.

I remember when Ad-Aware removed NewDot.net from their defs while SpyBot S&D moved it to an advanced mode, but at least gave us a way to remove it without having to go to NewDot.net’s website to get their uninstaller.

I see history repeating itself with various others being removed from Ad-Aware’s list and again they leave us high and dry – with ‘them having the knowledge of what needs removing’ but not giving users the ability to use their product to remove them simply because WhenU and others claim to have a method of removal now?!

So, if you continue to use Ad-Aware as your main Spyware Removal product, you will also need to get to all the Spyware sites that they have removed defs for to get their uninstallers? Or use Add and Remove to remove them?

What about the ones that don’t allow you to remove them because you can’t get to the Internet to get to their website and say try again later (either because some piece of spyware/crapware broke the Winsock or worse)?

What about the ones that in the past couldn’t be trusted and now want to give the warm fuzzies and want us to trust that their Add and Remove will add and remove everything?

Do leopard’s change their spots? Are we to just bend over and say, “sure you can be trusted now? you were given spyware free status by COAST or Ad-Aware removed you from their TAC because TODAY you are below their radar? Even though your EULA says you can change privacy rules etc., on the fly?

And as so many of us realize, what about the older versions of their programs that are out there and still need removal? Oh, wait, how silly of me, they say they will remove their old programs when they install their new ones.

Well, maybe we don’t want their crapware. Maybe we don’t trust them. Maybe we want our computers back!!!

And since when are children left to try to analysis EULAs when even adults have trouble with reading the War and Piece versions of these EULAs?

Many of the pieces of crapware are inadvertently installed by people who may not realize what will happen to the computer if these things are installed. And later they are experiencing over time the frog in hot water syndrome as their shiny new PCs going from P4 2.8Ghz computers to a computer that acts like it is a vintage 486 computer, slow and struggling to do even the most mundane task? Crushing under the weight of hundreds to thousands of these pieces of crap vying for your computer’s CPU, Memory and Bandwidth … and leaving barely enough for you to do anything.

I really think Ad-Aware really needs to re think all of this.

I see PestPatrol has. They have added back in at least some of these pieces of crapware into their databases.

I also see that Webroot’s Spy Sweeper and Microsoft’s AntiSpyware give you the option of removing or ignoring the various items it finds including those removed from Ad-Aware’s TAC and database.

I put my money on Webroot’s Spy Sweeper and I use it in conjunction with Microsoft’s now confirmed to remain free AntiSpyware (it was a great move on MS’ part) and CWShredder (updated now by InterMute). I also continue to use SpyBot S&D (and will as long as Patrick puts it out as the only truly free version out there) and although it is once again low man on this person’s totem pole, I still keep Ad-Aware SE free version. For Readtime Mode, I use Webroot’s Spy Sweeper.

I hope Webroot continues to keep up the good work and doesn’t give in as Ad-Aware did. I will continue to buy it by the year and evaluate it as I do everything that goes on my computer.

This whole mess is far from over and the players and the behind the scenes mess and pushing by big money as Ben Edelman has so elequently reminded us, will not go away.

Thanks so much for your work on our behalf Eric L Howes! You are a beacon out there and may your light never be dimmed or darkened.

Additional References:

Rogue AntiSpyware Programs
Lavasoft’s response
Spyware Warrior
CastleCops: WhenU lives on the edge of danger
Spyware Warrior Guide to Anti-Spyware Programs
Wilders Security

Historical References:

GRC – OptOut – The ORIGINAL Spyware Remover – deprecated but still good historical data, thought-provoking

CEXX.org – The trouble with Spyware – not updated to include WinXP but still good historical and thought-provoking – the original LSP fixer

NOTE: Originally posted: February 2005 (recreated from mangled original bambismusings.blogspot.com)

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