Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Cheeky spyware

Was de-spyware-ifying a computer today and hit upon ‘Windows TaskAd’ – a nasty piece of work which Spybot Search & Destroy doesn’t yet detect (even with beta detections). Thankfully it is uninstallable, which is fortunate because it has two tasks which work in tandem to stop you from closing it down – a trick that is becoming all too common nowadays (I had a similar problem with WinTools in August which also used a service in XP). The uninstaller was pretty cheeky though – here’s something like the ‘dialogue’ I had with it:

  • Me: *clicks uninstall*
  • TaskAd: Are you sure?
  • Me: Yes.
  • TaskAd: Are you really sure? Uninstalling me could stop some of your programs from working…
  • Me: Yes, I’m sure… (there were no programs installed that rely on it)
  • TaskAd: Uninstalling me will take away targeted adverts that may be of interest to you. Do you still want these adverts?

And this is the cheeky part – you have to click “no” rather than “yes” as before. I’m wondering how many people, having clicked “yes” twice, will click it a third time and then end up not uninstalling the program.
Thankfully the uninstaller did work and remove the thing from the machine. Said machine, which was running Windows XP SP1, has now been upgraded to SP2.

5 Comments

  1. Wow… Spyware makers with basic ethics? Never thought I’d hear that! 😉

  2. The old yes, yes, yes, no game. i fall for it everytime.

  3. I really did removed itself? Lucky you.
    I have 180Solutions/nCase from few months back which steep creep up once in a while, always when I thought I’ve got rid of it for good.

  4. Thanks for the help.
    Finally got rid of this annoying piece of spyware. Thanks for the tips.

  5. Info on Windows TaskAd. Thanks.
    Philip.