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Balloons are for Clowns...and Spyware

by Chris Boyd, Wayne Porter

Date: 11.15.2005

A recent find by Roger Karlsson highlighted a large Adware bundle from Lookousoft.net, which is covered here by Sunbelt Software. The software in question (a modified version of "Hangman") installs numerous pieces of advertising software without consent or displaying a EULA of any kind. All you see is a typical installer page - screenshot here.



Once the install is complete, the adware begins to install itself onto the end-user's PC, with numerous files including 180 Search Assistant, Internet Optimizer and Media Gateway, along with some other entries named Pokapoka79, WinTask Ad and cvwnqzap.exe.

Searchmiracle Toolbar, currently in hot water with the FTC, is also included, and because the toolbar is unbranded, the end-user will naturally wish to check the help files, to see who it is from. However, when selecting the help file option, the end-user is presented with a "Page not found" link.
Worse still, using the "uninstall" link from the toolbar pops up a "thank you" message - but the toolbar does not actually uninistall, remaining on the system.

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As we can see from the above screenshot, with the obvious exception of taskmgr.exe (which we are using to view running processes), the files installed from this bundle place a potentially considerable load on a mid-range PC, especially if other applications are running when the install takes place.

And why, you might ask, is Internet Explorer taking up 45,312k of memory usage?

The answer is right here.

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