More on SpywareNuker

I got an email from the SpywareNuker people regarding my comments. I expect you to view anything you read with a critical eye, including what I myself write. I posted a quote from the Spybot S&D page to give you some information, but I don’t expect you to take that as hard fact. If you hadn’t picked up on it from the rest of my site, I expect people to think for themselves.

The email claimed that they have never received a single complaint that the program downloaded an ad or third-party software. I find it hard to believe that Spybot, a rather respected anti-spyware program, and Symantec would both just create lies to discredit them. But we all know how rumors spread on the internet…

Anyway, I just downloaded their program to check it out myself. Here’s what their license agreement says.

4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF UPDATES

SPYWARENUKER IS NOT ADWARE AND WILL NEVER DOWNLOAD ADWARE OR SPYWARE APPLICATIONS ONTO YOUR PC. However, you acknowledge that the “Trek Blue” Program(s) include technology which allows “Trek Blue” to provide updates to the software directly to your computer. By installing, downloading, copying, updating or otherwise using the “Trek Blue” Program(s), you specifically agree to include and/or accept the noted software and technology through which “Trek Blue” keeps “SpywareNuker” or other “Trek Blue” programs current as a condition to using the “Trek Blue” Program(s). Note that SpywareNuker allows the user to select from three (3) methods of updating the definition database:

1 download updates automatically and notify me when the update is available to install.

2 notify me when an update is available and only download and install when I click “Yes.”

3 disable auto-update. I’ll check for all update manually.

Upon installation, the second option ( 2 – notify me when an update is available and only download and install when I click “Yes.”) is the default and will be used unles the user specifies otherwise.

It basically just says that it does have “updater” mechanisms in it. It doesn’t say anything about third-party content, so I would expect that not to be relevant. Then again, it doesn’t specifically say anything against it, and we know how lawyers can be sometimes. As the license states, it tried to check for updates when I first started the program. However, after choosing option three, it did not make any connections. The web-installer and the update check both made connections only to crossroad.spywarenuker.net, which is a sign that it’s not just downloading random trojans and ads onto your system.

In short, you could consider this spyware if you really wanted to, based on the default setting to check in with its website. I didn’t analyze the traffic itself, so I honestly don’t know what data they do and don’t send. Note that Spybot, Ad-Aware, and just about every other modern program come with auto-update as an option, sometimes on by default. It doesn’t appear to do anything harmful right now, but there’s nothing in the license specifically preventing that from being added either. I’m not sure how other programs’ agreements are in regard to this. From what Spybot says, it’s not that great at removing spyware. I can only take their word on that, as I don’t have spyware problems, and don’t intend to install some just to test it out. It doesn’t seem to be the evil program some people would have you believe, but I can’t vouch for older versions, which could be where all these bad claims come from. And the multiple/changing names thing doesn’t exactly inspire confidence either.

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