Feeds

Dell rejects spyware charge

Doing it My Way

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Dell has rejected allegations that its PCs come pre-loaded with an intrusive application that spies on users' surfing habits. The equipment manufacturer said there was nothing untoward about My Way Search Assistant despite complaints from customers that the toolbar impairs computer performance, changes browser settings and is difficult to remove.

The inclusion of My Way on Dell's Dimension desktop and Inspiron notebooks has prompted complaints to Dell's support pages, numerous gripes in online bulletin boards and even an accusation that the package is spyware. The latter accusation greatly overstates other assessments of the nuisance level posed by the application.

Anti-spyware firm Sunbelt Software defines My Way components as a "potential privacy risk" that pose a moderate threat to users.

"MyWay Speedbar is a search toolbar that installs into Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, adding search functions and popup blocking. MyWay Search Bar is a toolbar that is added to the major web browsers. While it has some desired features, it does anonymously report your surfing activity when on a Myway or Myway affiliated site, helping their product serve you targeted advertising based on surfing habits of its users. Based on their End User License Agreement, they may also choose to correlate the anonymous surfing habits with your personal profile if you sign up for anything while on their sites," it said.

A Dell spokesperson said concerns about the product were misplaced. "My Way is not a spyware product and it does not monitor user's behaviour. It's a toolbar that displays relevant search results in response to search queries," she said. "You can disable the product using the options menu."

My Way Search Assistant is marketed by developer AskJeeves through Dell (see here) and other partners. Information on removing components of the utility can be found here. ®

Related stories

Judge bans company's deceptive anti-spyware claims
Microsoft mulls buying Claria
Industry coalition takes stab at defining spyware
Deleting spyware: a criminal act?

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.