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April 15, 2005

PestPatrol Puts Gator Back On Spyware Hit List

Courtesy of TechWeb News

Computer Associates' PestPatrol has returned one of the top ten most significant spyware/adware programs to its hit list after a week-long re-examination prompted by a complaint from the adware vendor.

On March 25, PestPatrol removed all the products from Claria, which produces and distributes the Gator and GAIN lines of adware, from its spyware database. PestPatrol, which sells anti-spyware software under that same name, has a "Vendor Appeal" process that an alleged spyware/adware maker can trigger by asking that their software be removed from PestPatrol's detection and deletion database.

PestPatrol then conducts another evaluation of the product and scores it against a set list of criteria.

On April 1, PestPatrol returned the Gator/GAIN adware to its database. "After failing the eTrust PestPatrol scorecard, all products removed on March 25, 2005, were restored to the database under the names Claria or Gator/GAIN/Claria, and new products were added to the database under the name Claria," PestPatrol said in a statement on its Web site.

Gator/GAIN currently holds down the number two spot on PestPatrol rival Webroot's top 10 spyware/adware list. Webroot, which sells its anti-spyware software under the Spy Sweeper banner, estimates that Gator/GAIN -- which is most commonly installed when people download the free Kazaa peer-to-peer file-sharing software -- is on 15 percent of all PCs.

Anti-spyware developers have come under fire recently for backing down to threats -- legal and otherwise -- made by alleged spyware and adware makers who don't want their products characterized as such. Microsoft for instance, in February apologized and paid restitution to a Dutch Web site that claimed it had been incorrectly tagged as a malicious code.

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