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Owner of Privacy Tools 2004 Announces...


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#1 Xsara

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Posted 25 August 2004 - 08:48 PM

"Ashley" (aka "ash1ey”), the 22-year old owner of Privacy Tools 2004, has announced plans to have his programmers write some "undetectable" spyware because he is frustrated with the responses given to him in a Spyware Warrior Forums thread. The following partial quote is from Page 2 of that thread and it is near the top of the page:

"And to be honest i'm even thinking of having some programmers write me some spyware. Yep, actual spyware to infect ppls machines. Why? Cus you all suck. I'm trying to work with you but you couldnt give a sh1t. So why try and work with the anti-spyware community when there only against you? You guys are against me so much that i'm going to start distributing spyware myself, its not hard. UNDETECTABLE stuff too To be honest theres probably more money in this then the actual spyware removal."

Eldar, who started the thread at Spyware Warrior, has written the following review of Privacy Tools 2004 (page 1 of the thread):

"CRAP - Stay away
Having checked my PC with Ad-aware, Spy Sweeper & Spybot S&D all was clean as usual.
Downloaded this program and after I did the update, I scanned my PC. It found 2 files and 534 registry keys which were identified as spyware. It even identified OutPost as spyware, which btw is total nonsense. Removing all this would certainly do irrepairable damage."

Eric L. Howes, creator of IE-SPYAD (restricted Sites List), AGNIS (Ad Block List), and Pro WAGoN (Block List Utility) has written this review of Privacy Tools 2004 (Page 1 of the Spyware Warrior thread):

"Ashley:

I've tested your new beta of Privacy Tools 2004. Unfortunately, I ran into the same horrendous false positives as with the earlier versions.

First, four screenshots of the scan results, starting with the scan summary (click links to view screenshots):

http://www.spywarewarrior.com/pics_pub/pt-beta-6a.jpg
http://www.spywarewarrior.com/pics_pub/pt-beta-6b.jpg
http://www.spywarewarrior.com/pics_pub/pt-beta-6c.jpg
http://www.spywarewarrior.com/pics_pub/pt-beta-6d.jpg

A couple of observations:

1) The beta identified completely innocent files for the following applications as "spyware" or "malware" of some sort:

* Advanced Replacer
* Sam Spade
* NeoTrace
* SpywareBlaster
* Spyware Doctor
* UPX

These detections are a mixed bag. In some cases the beta correctly identified the program (e.g., Sam Spade), but provided no good reason why that app should be flagged as malware. In other cases, the beta completely misidentified the app, as when it flagged a plain text license file for UPX as part of "AGM65's FileCD Key Harvester 0.1."

2) The beta identified a number of completely innocent Registry keys as malware-related in some way, including keys for:

* AdShield
* SpywareGuard
* Internet Explorer (Radio Bar)
* FlashGet
* Neotrace

All of these Registry keys are completely innocent -- even the FlashGet keys, which are from the "for-pay"/non-adware version of FlashGet.

3) The beta identified several Registry keys as "Suspicious ActiveX control," without bothering to explain why those ActiveX controls would be "suspicious."

4) The beta identified hundreds of "ActiveX Compatibility" keys as malware related. In fact, those keys (and the associated DWORD:00000400 values) were set by either SpywareBlaster or Spybot S&D to block the installation of known spyware-related ActiveX controls. This method of setting the kill-bit against ActiveX controls is a well-known means for protecting users from spyware installations through Internet Explorer, and has been in use for several years now in the anti-spyware scene.

5) The beta performed very poorly in identifying actual spyware files. I happened to have a directory on my E-drive that houses dozens upon dozens of spyware installers and other spyware-related files. PT2004 identified only one installer -- SaveInstWm.exe, a SaveNow installer. The rest went completely unremarked by PT2004.

I understand this is a beta, but more work seems to have been put into making the interface look slick than in actually fixing the underlying problems with the detections. Indeed, this new version of Privacy Tools 2004 looks to be just another clone of the new version of ADS Adware Remover (from the same family of applications) that was released just recently:

http://www.spywarewarrior.com/pics_pub/ads3-5a.jpg

Even the license files are identical.

I don't know when you planned to release this new version, but you've got a long way to go before you have a usable anti-spyware utility.

One final bit of advice. Given that you've been batting 0 percent for the past month or so -- all the while selling a spyware utility you should have known was junk to unsuspecting victims (and having even admitted to not doing proper QC) -- and given that you've been been telling me and anyone else who will listen that you've got your independent developers fixing all the problems with your software in this new version, and given that these extraordinary claims seem not to be true at all, I would suggest that you adjust your attitude when addressing the other members of Spyware Warrior in this thread. These are the people who actually have some knowledge about spyware (knowledge which your developers seem to be sorely lacking) and who have been using that knowledge to help spyware victims remove unwanted malware from their systems day in and day out.

While you've been bragging to the world about your worthless, broken anti-spyware utility and selling it to unsuspecting users, condescending to the volunteers here at Spyware Warrior and refusing to answer their perfectly legitimate questions, as well as threatening me and Spyware Warrior with frivolous lawsuits, these volunteers have actually been doing the thankless job of providing real help to real victims, and all for free. That's a hell of a lot more than you can claim.

Until you get your own house in order, you have no business whatsoever bad-mouthing the volunteers here at Spyware Warrior or giving them an attitude.

Eric L. Howes"

I wanted to spread the word about "Ashley's" plans to have his programmers write "undetectable spyware" programs with the express purpose of infecting innocent user's machines, all in the name of money (he blatantly & repeatedly states that pursuit of the almighty dollar, or pound, as the case may be, is his primary reason for founding his business).

I am asking all who read this to share the story with people that they care about. Ashley needs to be stopped.

P.S. My username at Spyware Warrior is "Harry Letterman".

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#2 Scarlett

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Posted 25 August 2004 - 08:58 PM

Xsara Welcome To B.C. It is a great place!. Im sure you will enjoy your stay!......Very informative. But Id be a little leary of clicking on the Privacy Tools 2004 link. Who knows what could happen. IMHO
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#3 phawgg

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Posted 25 August 2004 - 09:07 PM

That information certainly is worth the time reading it. I thank you. :trumpet: :flowers:

I for one will be eternally thankful for people who volunteer to pick up the trash from the shoulders of the Super Highway and struggle to make up for the flaws in the products we consumers have invested in to a great degree... both time & money.

My most recent hero is Patrick Kolla. Better than Spiderman is HE. :thumbsup:
patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#4 tg1911

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Posted 25 August 2004 - 11:08 PM

Thanks for the info.
Another one to add to the "Stay Away From" list.
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#5 cowsgonemadd3

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 11:14 AM

Yes... what a long post you wrote must have took you 20 mins!
Welcome to BC!

#6 Xsara

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 08:00 PM

Xsara Welcome To B.C. It is a great place!. Im sure you will enjoy your stay!......Very informative. But Id be a little leary of clicking on the Privacy Tools 2004 link. Who knows what could happen. IMHO

Thanks so much for the warm welcome. As for clicking on the Privacy Tools link, on retrospect I probably should've put a warning next to it but after I clicked on the link and subsequently scanned with up-to-date versions of Spybot-S&D, Ad-Aware, and TrojanHunter nothing malicious was found on my system.

As for BleepingComputer, I have been "tangentially" aware of the site's name and good reputation for a few months now. Most of the time I post "general" questions at the VirtualDr Forums but I will spend some time here as well. It looks like a very nice place indeed. :thumbsup:

#7 Xsara

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 08:11 PM

Yes... what a long post you wrote must have took you 20 mins!
Welcome to BC!

I was a bit worried about the length of the post but I tried to make it readable and not too tendentious. It did take me about 20 mins, now that I think about it. :thumbsup: I openly admit to selectively editing some comments but Eric L. Howes' comment was reproduced in its entirety. If anyone is curious I suggest they read the Spyware Warrior post, particularly page 3.

I am still trying to spread the word as far and wide as possible about Ashley's plan to distribute spyware, which is a clear violation of the UK's Computer Misuse Act, 1990. Does anyone have any suggestions about a UK-based computer forum that I can post this info. in? Preferably a forum that is primarily for ad/spy/malware prevention.

I also want to contact some British media about Ashley's plans, as I am sure that this will get him a proper spotlight. But where should I start? I think that the "Fleet Street" dailies would love this story.

Thanks to everyone who has posted. I appreciate the input. :flowers:

#8 Grinler

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 10:32 PM

Informative post! As everyone else already said welcome to the board :thumbsup:

Just want to let all the members know not to click on the above Privacy Tools 2004 link and in no way does bleeping computer endorse it/

Now that that is out of the way, another site to post this on would be antionline.com and security-forums.com Hope you stick around for some more posts :flowers:

#9 phawgg

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 10:43 PM

xsara, please post at Info-X

information exchange
patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#10 Xsara

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Posted 26 August 2004 - 11:26 PM

Thanks again for the warm welcome. I wonder if perhaps I should re-format the post a bit, to be specific: should I remove Eldar's comments? Eldar is a highly intelligent and honourable gentlemen and I feel that I can call him a friend. But when I look at my OP, it can appear that I am merely bad-mouthing PT 2004 and using Eldar as a "shield" or "front man". Opinions?

I want to post a hyperlink to the section of page 2 in the SW thread where Ashley announces his plans to distribute spyware. What I mean is that I do not want viewers to have to scroll down to his post. How is this possible?

Also, when I post on other forums should I include a link to PT 2004 at all? I understand your concerns about people clicking the link and possibly becoming infected but I DO want some sort of link to the PT 2004 page, if for no other reason than letting viewers know what the logo looks like.

I fully intend to stick around BC but I already participate in about a dozen diverse forums, not all computer-related. If I have any questions that cannot be answered at VirtualDr I this will certainly be my "2nd stop" (no offense intended but I am fairly comfortable with the people and forum setup at VDR, although their forum architecture sorely needs upgrading). What is the consensus here about VirtualDr, if any?

#11 phawgg

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Posted 28 August 2004 - 12:35 AM

Mine is not a consensus opinion, and to be honest I've been rather busy, but the site looks like one of value to those who prefer defense against ignorance, stupidity & opportunism when using the Internet and offline as well. Post your message. Don't worry about the appearance or propriety of your words. Intentions as stated on both sides of the issue are clear. Grinler's "This Is Not An Endorsement" could accompany the link at future posts if you so desire. Rest assured the majority of security-minded individuals (and corporations, for that matter) should be grateful to you for your concerns. I am. :thumbsup:

Edited by phawgg, 28 August 2004 - 12:38 AM.

patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#12 Xsara

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Posted 28 August 2004 - 01:13 AM

xsara, please post at Info-X


Just posted over there - http://info-x.co.uk/viewtopic.php?t=7268

#13 Xsara

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 04:28 AM

Does anyone want to see the entire list? This would be every forum site that I am aware of where someone has posted about arseley & PT 2004. I think there are about 30 or so sites so I won't post if there is no interest.

#14 Grinler

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 04:48 PM

I dont think its necessary

#15 chiefmasterjedi

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 05:40 PM

I do not support PT 2004 and it is obviously a complete waste of money but i read that thread over at spyware warrior and what shocked me the most was the opening remarks from staff and members. You guys (and every other security forum) had your dream come true, a maker of a "so called" scum ware program actually replied to a thread in a security forum...........and how did you all reply?.........like a bunch of spoilt kids, thats how!!.
They wouldn't even let him defend himself and even threaten him, so what exactly did you expect him to do after that. He reacted like most men would when angry.

Let me make this perfectly clear, what he said in his following posts was well out of order, but that could have been avoided with a bit of professionalism by the staff/members at the start of that thread. Plus another thing i don't see him doing, is going to every known forum and posting links to that thread in the vain hope that it might score a point in the fight against spyware. Instead what it does is make me stay well clear of Spyware warrior in the future.

Lets hope i never make a program with a few mistakes and try to sell it!!!

Chief.




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