Adware Firm Admits Error, Apologizes - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

01:59 PM

Adware Firm Admits Error, Apologizes

180solutions, the controversial adware marketer, admitted last week that it has found a pair of sites adding its Zango software to PCs without users' consent.

180solutions, the controversial adware marketer admitted last week that it was initially unable to identify the rogue affiliate that was installing its Zango software illegally, and in fact found a pair of sites adding Zango to PCs without users' consent.

"As it turns out, we didn't get Mr. Edelman's guy on Monday. The guy we got on Monday, 'Sniper84,' was also installing our software in the same unauthorized manner," wrote Ken Smith, co-founder and chief technology officer of Bellevue, Wash.-based 180.

A week-and-a-half ago, Harvard anti-spyware Ben Edelman posted information on his Web site that showed unauthorized downloads of Zango, something 180solutions had promised would be much more difficult after it required affiliates to use its S3 (Safe and Secure Search) technology. Edelman, who said he had found more than 40 instances of illegal downloads by 180solutions partners over the past two years, did not identify the rogue affiliate.

"I have concluded that 180's business model is fundamentally broken -- that 180 cannot implement technology or enforcement to assure the proper installation of its software," Edelman said then. "Accordingly, just as CDT [Center for Democracy & Technology] terminated its discussions with 180, I have resolved not to tell 180solutions which specific distributor was responsible for this installation."

"At the time, we believed this [Sniper84] was the same individual Ben Edelman had (cryptically) described," said Smith. In fact, the rogue Edelman found, dubbed "csk2000" by 180, was not shut down until the next day, Tuesday Feb. 21.

Both were identified during the course of its investigation into Edelman's charges; ads will not be posted on machines hacked by either Sniper84 or csk2000.

Like a company spokesman last week, Smith also blamed the breakdown on his company's detection and reporting mechanisms, not the S3 technology. "Our software was certainly hacked, [buy] no amount of software development will ever make any software completely bulletproof," said Smith.

"In the end, the mechanisms we have in place were able to help us find the bad guys. But, in our opinion, that process took too long, and for that we apologize."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2020 State of DevOps Report
2020 State of DevOps Report
Download this report today to learn more about the key tools and technologies being utilized, and how organizations deal with the cultural and process changes that DevOps brings. The report also examines the barriers organizations face, as well as the rewards from DevOps including faster application delivery, higher quality products, and quicker recovery from errors in production.
Think Like a Chief Innovation Officer and Get Work Done
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/13/2020
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
Northwestern Mutual CIO: Riding Out the Pandemic
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/7/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll