Feeds

Bastard Gator child dies sudden death

'Spyware king' rests in pieces

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

It seems that one of the world's most notorious adware outfits has died. Again.

An anonymous tipster tells Valleywag that life has ended for Jellycloud, an online behavioral advertising startup that arose from the remnants of the infamous Gator Corporation.

Famously, Gator changed its name to Claria in October 2003 in an apparent attempt to lose its reputation as a spyware king. Less than three years later, Claria gave up the adware ghost, and as some employees gravitated to a brand new Phormette known as NebuAd, the company's top brass created Jellycloud, nabbing $11.5m from VCs with very short memories.

In 1998, Gator unleashed an eponymous desktop app that tracks web surfer behavior as a means of targeting display ads, and it was often bundled with free downloads, including the P2P file-sharing app Kazaa. Multiple anti-spyware tools identify and remove Gator - re-dubbed GAIN (Gator Advertising Information Network) during the Claria era.

Of course, Gator Corp./Claria Corp. always claimed it did not distribute spyware.

According to Eric Howes of spyware and malware protection outfit Sunbelt Software, Gator may still be lurking on PCs across the interwebs. But details on Jellyweb's operation are sketchy. Natch.

"I never could pin down precisely how they were serving their ads or how they were collecting behavioral data on users," he tells The Reg. "Apparently they did have some kind of stealth 'trial' going on. Some users on the web started complaining of home page hijacks to grape.jellycloud.com." Such complaints have turned up on the Spybot user forums, among other places.

So, yes, after all these years, the Gator brass - and all those VCs - have yet to learn their lesson. "These folks have limited imagination," Howes points out. "They can only think of doing the same thing over and over again."

And right now is a particularly bad time to be in the behavioral tracking biz. Like Phorm across the pond, NebuAd has been heavily criticized for deploying its ad targeting system on several American ISPs without providing adequate notice - never mind requiring an opt-in. After a Congressional crackdown, ISPs say they've suspended use of such systems.

JellyCloud did not respond to our request for comment. But Valleywag reports that liquidators repossessed its furniture. Do realize, however, that Claria is still around, hawking a customized home page thingy called Personal Web.

"It should be remembered that at one time Claria could boast that it possessed one of the largest databases of consumer data in the world," says Eric Howes. "I really have to wonder what's happening with all that data." ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.