Aureate “spy” hoax exposed

And The Register's diligent 'butt work' helps contain it....

The Web has been alive this past week with rumours of a trojan secretly installed by Aureate Media and which enables the company to track users' on-line activities. Aureate software, we are told, collects hard drive information, tracks the pages where users surf, records their downloads, and steals and even modifies system registry information. Worse, the files secretly installed by Aureate are said to be associated with such popular shareware applications as GetRight, Go!Zilla and CuteFTP, used by millions of Netizens. We were immediately intrigued, and plunged swiftly into the controversy. In the course of our journalistic 'leg work', we were led to a source who detailed his exhaustive research into the several mysterious files and registry entries installed by Aureate software products, and some that he thought must have been. We came away persuaded of little beyond the investigator's palpable determination to find evidence of foul play, and decided to sit on the story, a practice known in the professional world of journalism by the technical term 'butt work'. And sure enough, the butt work paid off, as it so often does. Late this week the ubergeeks at anti-virus outfit Network Associates announced the results of their own exhaustive, and immensely more objective, research into the Aureate spy mystery. They conclude, just as we anticipated, that the Aureate spy trojan is a hoax. And you thought we were just being lazy.... ®

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