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New Website, Same Old Scam

Posted on October 4, 2006 - 08:30 by colson

In this week’s in-depth report, we highlight an old badware application with a shiny new site: Popcorn.net. Popcorn.net advertises itself as "an Internet-based multi-channel entertainment browser†that functions as a “one-stop source for thousands of downloads.†In truth, its Download Manager software is essentially a repackaging of Movieland's MediaPipe application, which we reviewed back in March 2006 (see our Mediapipe report here). It deceives users into downloading the application, installs a Trojan horse and adware, and cannot be uninstalled. See our full report for details.

We’ve also included a “Background†section in this report. Popcorn.net has quite a history, and we wanted to make sure users understood this history and the deceptive business practices that Popcorn.net continues to engage in. In fact, the FTC is currently pursuing a court case against the companies behind both Popcorn.net and Movieland.

StopBadware.org releases report on AOL 9.0

Posted on August 28, 2006 - 07:22 by colson

Our latest report, on the free version of AOL 9.0, is a bit of a departure from some of the applications we have highlighted in the past. Perhaps John Palfrey, the executive director of the Berkman Center and one of StopBadware.org's principles, puts it best: "AOL has a long and storied history of being a leader in the fight against badware. AOL plainly does not belong in the same category as the all-too-prevalent, garden variety badware providers. But the free version of AOL 9.0 that we tested, in our view, does not live up to the company's rich legacy. AOL is a trusted brand in the Internet service space. What we are calling on AOL to do today is to honor that trust by telling users exactly what they're putting on their computers, give users an easy way to opt out of having so many programs installed and running after download, and ensure that users can uninstall all the applications they don't want on their computers."

Palfrey adds, "We've been very impressed with [AOL's] response since we sent them the draft report and we look forward to working with them to address the concerns that we are raising in our preliminary findings."

Safer Searching

Posted on August 4, 2006 - 05:32 by colson

If you check out our front page, you'll notice the following announcement:

We're entering a new phase here at StopBadware.org. Google -- which is one of our partners -- will present people with a warning before they visit websites that have been reported to StopBadware.org as sites that distribute badware. These
warnings currently link to a general page on StopBadware.org , but as we finish researching sites, we'll replace the general page with one of our individual website reports (see an example here). Hopefully this next step will bring us that much closer
to fulfilling our mission of providing people with reliable, objective information about downloadable applications in order to help them make better choices.

If there are sites and applications you'd like us to check out before you use them, let us know here.

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