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Cws Also Being Used For Identity Theft Spyware isnt a good thing

1 reply to this topic

#1 sparx


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Posted 07 August 2005 - 11:20 AM

Here's one more reason to be on the lookout that you don't get infected by CWS. At last count there were well over 50 variants loose in the wild!

Sunbelt is a software company that makes the well known anti-spyware called CounterSpy.

While investigating a new mutation of the CoolWebSearch trojan, a Sunbelt researcher was astounded to discover that it was being used for identity theft. All manner of personal information is being uploaded to a publicly-viewable web server, including eBay passwords, Paypal passwords and passwords for bank accounts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Anyone who knows this web server's IP address can view all of this information!

After initially rebuffing Sunbelt when they first made contact, the FBI now is said to be investigating the matter. Sunbelt also has tried contacting some of the victims of this identity theft.

CoolWebSearch is a particularly nasty browser hijacker with countless variations. They have hundreds, possibly thousands, of affiliated web sites who all feed traffic into coolwebsearch.com. Many of those affiliates use exploits for various flaws in Windows and Internet Explorer to install browser hijackers.

The motivation behind all of this, of course, is money. Coolwebsearch.com is nothing more than a collection of paid listings. If someone clicks the links on their web site, they are paid a small commission from the owner of the site being linked. In turn, CoolWebSearch pays their affiliates to drive traffic to their site.

They almost always have used unethical and possibly illegal methods to install this hijacking software.

The recommended thing to do is to scan your system using the very specialized CWShredder which removes all traces of CWS.

#2 WeaponX


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Posted 07 August 2005 - 05:59 PM

Man, these things just keep coming :D

CoolWebSearch has many different forms. It also mutates sometimes to make it even more complicated to remove.

My suggestion is to use other anti-spyware programs along with CWShredder because it can't handle ALL those different (mutated) variants alone. I'm not 100% sure how far CWShredder went in terms of the updates (last time I checked, it was updated in May), but one other main tool to help remove the mutated CWS is to use a program called About:Buster.

The usual Ad-aware, Spybot and Microsoft AntiSpyware should be run regularly also. All those programs are free to use. Just make sure to check for updates weekly and do weekly or bi-weekly scans to be safe. Spyware, these days, are more wide spread than viruses. So get those anti-spyware programs installed and run them.

Just have something to add regarding Sunbelt's CounterSpy program. I heard that there was a previous agreement, when Microsoft bought out GIANT AntiSpyware, that Microsoft has to supply Sunbelt with their updates until around 2006. So I'm not sure if CounterSpy would be any much more effective in removing spyware as the free Microsoft AntiSpyware program. Just a note...

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