Feeds

Why 'Download.com' isn't what it appears to be

We fell for it

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

Earlier this week we reported that CNET's Download.com had booted an anti-spam product after complaints about its makers. They appeared to be spammers themselves and were lying about their product.

The spam we got referred to Download.com, Cnet's popular shareware library, where the product could be downloaded from. At least, that's what we believed and complained about to CNET.

Now, CNET informs us that we fell victim to the same trick that the spammer used to dupe thousands of innocent users. 'Download.com's distinctive page design was copied by the spammer and the pages were presented on the spammer's own web servers to make it appear as though the product was being downloaded from the real Download.com,' Scott Arpajian, senior Vice President of CNET Download.com told The Reg. "When your reporter visited Download.com, the product appeared to have been removed, but in fact it was never there to begin with."

Hey, didn't we say that Spam Remedy operated in stealth mode? Just kidding.

Actually, the product was still offered this week through Optinspecialist.info aka SecureDiscounts aka
Soft4all.biz. All 'companies' known for hosting spamvertised sites. Securediscounts also offers software that permits people to pirate software from DVD's onto CD's, using domain names such as Ultra-software.info.

In the past Spam Remedy was also sold through nano-soft.biz, a domain registered by Andery Kovalev from Tallinn, Estonia, another indication that there is a Nordic connection. 'Is it just me, or are the former Soviet Union and its republics becoming the centre of Internet scams?' someone on the Net asks. after he received spam from the company.

So far, the people behind Spam Remedy have only identified themselves as the DarkSoft Group, which not only developed the abovementioned pirate product but also crafted 'the only real time remotely deployable spy software application'. Apparently, it gives you the power to remotely monitor pc's from anywhere. That is if you believe them.

What we do know is that DarkSoft seems to favor hit and run tactics. They register (or let others register) domain names for a short time and then move on to another address, like rats escaping the flood. The spamvertised links optinspecialists.info, soft4all.biz and nano-soft.biz links worked yesterday, but were out of use as from this morning. In fact, DarkSoft seem to have vanished from Earth.

We have to congratulate DarkSoft on their Download.com spoof. We fell for it. However, they may have gone too far this time. "CNET vigorously defends its copyrights and trademarks," Scott Arpajian told The Reg. 'We are currently working with the necessary authorities to take appropriate action."

CNET has thanked us for giving it the opportunity to set the record completely straight with our readers. Which is very gracious of them, as it's the least we could do. Apologies all around. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
Japanese artist cuffed for disseminating 3D ladyparts files
Printable genitalia fall foul of 'obscene material' laws
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Brit Rockall adventurer poised to quit islet
Occupation records broken, champagne corks popped
Accused! Yahoo! exec! SUES! her! accuser!, says! sex! harassment! never! happened!
Allegations were for 'financial gain', countersuit claims
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.