Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

The Dialer Propagtor

Yesterday, I posted about a prompt to install a dialer program and how I thought it was caused by a popup shown by Radio Times. It wasn’t, and I therefore retract any negative comments I made about the site.
What did cause it was something much more sinister – the WinTools spyware. This is one of the worst kinds of spyware you can have as it’s near impossible to remove manually. I used these instructions, which included booting into Safe Mode and then removing its registry entries manually to prevent it from starting up. The program registers itself as a service in Windows 2000 and XP and has 2 executables – if you close one then the other executable starts the program again, so the only way to get rid of it is to stop the program running in the first place. And if you try to remove its startup entries it just recreates them. So Safe Mode, where the program is never started, is the only way to get rid of it. While I can cope with removing this sort of thing myself, it is well beyond the capabilities of the average user.
This sort of program really goes beyond being spyware. In my mind, the way it prevents the user from removing it from their own computer makes this a virus. And that should be illegal.

One Comment

  1. There was talk of making spyware illegal in a couple of the states here in the US. I haven’t heard much since then, but I fully agree.
    Actually, the computer making phone calls that are not initiated by the user (toll or not), you would think that those would be illegal. :shrug: