Three years ago today DecryptedTech published an article calling out a software distribution company for installing Bitcoin mining software on subscribers’ systems. We highlighted the danger of the trust people put in web services by allowing agent software to run on their systems in order to use a service. Now we hear about a French company Tuto4PC that has taken this one step further and included some nasty little surprises in a utility they require for use of their free tutorial service. The discovery was made by Cisco’s Talos Security Intelligence group and, of course, is being refuted aggressively by the guys at Tuto4PC.
As the world gets all excited about some of the new “features” in Windows 10 there are some in the press (and consumers) that are less than thrilled about them. We are talking about Cortana and some of the predictive typing tools and features that Microsoft has embedded and how they really work. On the surface the concept of predictive text and searches is a pretty neat idea. After you type something in, or search for a topic your system will build a small database of information to help you find those things again.
As if it were not bad enough that the NSA, FBI, Local Law Enforcement and the Copyright industry is spying on you now we find out that even rent-to-own companies are doing it. Yup, you read that right: rent-to-own companies are leasing/selling computers to their customers that have spyware installed on them. According to a complaint filed by the FTC against Aaron’s they have been doing this for a while and their efforts have caught everything from logins to actual pictures of the people on the other end of the line.
Malware, spyware, viruses these are all things that are part of the modern computing experience. When you are online you always have to be aware of the dangers of these items. Over the years the developers of malware have become more and more clever at disguising their wares from users and anti-malware programs. This is something that you would expect of this group as in many cases they are looking to gather money, information or pull your system into their botnets (which can also equal money). However what you would not expect is for a legitimate company to use the same tactics to build their own spyware to assist governments and law enforcement.