Please note that the information shown was orignally published at http://www.spywareinfo.com and is *not* my own work.

Permission to re-publish this has been requested, but as yet I have received no response.

The original article can be found archived over at http://www.archive.org (hint - very useful site !)

This extract is taken from March 2006 (link as follows) and is the main article only:

http://web.archive.org/web/20060305052901/http://www.spywareinfo.com/articles/p2p/

(note - the page can be quite slow to load)

The article shown is 2001 - 2006 by Mike Healan



Clean and Infected File Sharing Programs

Wondering if your favorite peer-to-peer file-swapping program has spyware bundled into it? Chances are good that it does.

The information on this page is believed to be accurate. However, if any program is listed under the wrong section, please let me know immediately. If you know of a file sharing program not listed here, let me know about that as well and I will test it out.

Important Notice

This page has become outdated since the last round of testing. New tests will be carried out in the next few weeks to examine all of these programs.

Infected

The following file-swappers are confirmed to have spyware or other unwanted parasites bundled into them:

Also see this page which details what most of the above programs bundle. This page has a similar list of clean/not clean programs.

Clean

The following file-swappers have been found not to have any spyware or other advertising parasites bundled into them:

Untested

Believed to be clean

The following programs are reported to be clean but have not yet been tested by me.

Unknown

The following are P2P programs for which no reports are available. They eventually will be tested to see if they are clean or not.

Regarding Open Source File Sharing Programs

Be very careful when installing an open source file sharing program. Open source programs are distributed under a license that allows for repackaging and redistribution. Unfortunately, many fine open source file sharing programs are repackaged to bundle various adware, spyware and other malware. Some examples of this are BitTorrent and KCEasy, both of which are clean, open source programs that have been repackaged by others to include malware.

If you see on this page that an open source program is free of spyware, that does not mean that some unscrupulous person hasn't repackaged a version that does bundle spyware and is passing it off as the real thing, on his own web site. Be very careful that you download file sharing programs ONLY from the official web site of the program's developer.

Cracks

There are two programs, Kazaalite and Groksterlite, about which you be wondering. Both programs are spyware-free versions of those file-swappers. Some people believe that they are alternative versions put out by the makers of KaZaa and Grokster.

Let's kill that myth right here. Neither of these are distributed by the owners of Kazaa or Grokster. They are cracks, meaning that the people distributing them violated their End User License Agreements to decompile them and remove the embedded spyware.

You may think that by using these products, you are giving the proverbial finger to the makers of spyware-ridden software. I'm sorry to say, this is not true. You merely show them that their software is so popular that you will go to any lengths to use it. This tells them that it is safe to keep selling out their millions and millions of users to the parasitical spyware companies. It also lets them point to the size of their network when spyware companies come sniffing around. By using these products, cracked or not, you contribute to the problem of advertising spyware.

It is recommended that you not use any version of a product that uses spyware, whether it is a spyware-free crack, or the normal version. Spyware companies pay good money to the developers who sell out their users. The only way to discourage developers from including spyware into their products is to show them that his/her users will go elsewhere. No users equals no sponsors equals no money. It's as simple as that.

This article is located at http://www.spywareinfo.com/articles/p2p/

Related

Also see our article about KaZaA tampering with a Windows system file. http://www.spywareinfo.com/articles/kazaa/

Updates

Top of page

Updated July 21, 2005

Updated Morpheus listing.

Updated June 6, 2005

Added Bearshare Lite to unknown
Added gIFT, Phex, and TrustyFiles to clean list


Updated June 4, 2005

Updated E-Donkey listing.


Updated June 1, 2005

Too many individual updates to list.


Updated May 17, 2005

Too many individual updates to list.


Updated December 20, 2003

Added BitTorrent warning.

Added Mute to the clean list.


Updated October 29, 2003

Added FreeWire to the infected list.


Update September 29, 2003

Added OneMX to the infected list.


Update September 13, 2003

Added Earth Station 5 to the clean list.


Update September 5, 2003

Added BitTorrent and Direct Connect to the clean list.


Update September 3, 2003

KaZaA entry changed to reflect the paid version that omits the bundled spyware.


Update June 10, 2003

Blubster entry changed to Blubster 1.2.3 in the clean list, and Blubster 2.x and Piolet are added to the infected list.


Update March 15, 2003

Added Soulseek. Soulseek has not been tested by me, but all users report there are no ads or spyware.


Update October 9, 2002

Xolox has been moved from the clean to the infected list.