November 26, 2004 6:27 AM PST

CA slaps spyware label on Kazaa

Peer-to-peer program Kazaa is the No. 1 spyware threat on the Internet, according to Computer Associates International.

Through its PestPatrol research, CA found that Kazaa posed a greater threat than other programs in its top five spyware list because of its widespread popularity. Kazaa claims that its software has been downloaded 214 million times.

CA gave Kazaa a high "clot factor," its measure of how much a program slows a machine by adding unnecessary registry entries and directories. However, classifying a popular application like Kazaa as spyware is a delicate matter, and CA admits this creates difficulties in attaching labels.

"Kazaa does something useful," said Simon Perry, vice president of security strategy for CA. "I'm not going to say that it doesn't. But turn that around--you're allowing millions of strangers onto your machine. (Kazaa) is No. 1 because of the amount if copies it's got out there."

The company said that any other peer-to-peer file exchange programs, such as Blubster, Gnucleus and WinMX, could also degrade network performance and consume storage space because they are bundled with adware or spyware.

Adware program Ezula came second in the company's top five, beating and GameSpy Arcade.

Perry said the difficulty in exactly defining spyware was one reason why the company often referred to certain programs as pests. He said that while the definition of a virus was clear today, spyware is a fuzzy area and that the top five probably wouldn't change much because the programs had a much longer lifespan than viruses.

He added that CA used the term "pests" as an umbrella phrase to cover around 30 types of annoying programs.

"Pest is a broader category. It includes spyware, adware and browser help objects. One of the things virus writers don't try is to come and sue you. Some of the producers of spyware we detect say to us 'Why are you claiming my software has any malicious intent?'"

However, CA's Web site clearly lists Kazaa as the top spyware threat. Sharman Networks, Kazaa's distributor, was not immediately available for comment.

Dan Ilett of ZDNet UK reported from London.


Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Gnucleus anf WinMx contain no bundles of any other programs, no spyware, no adware.
Posted by nah40 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Kazaa lite or limewire is OK
Go here to get more info or download these utilities instead.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
kazaa lite or limewire.....hah
Kazaa lite is a Russian hack of the original kazaa software and has NOT santioned by kazaa in any way.

However, the real problem with ANY version of KaZaa exists in it's servers and in the use of the kazaa network.

Limewire isn't all that much better.

The truth is that you use ANY P2P software at your own risk. Because you not only risk the security and intgrity of your computer, you also risk being seen by the feds, the RIAA, and Hollywood doing what they can to insure you use what they have given you and that you get in trouble for using it.
Posted by Prndll (382 comments )
Link Flag
LimeWire Spyware Free says no bundled software of any kind. Also, my tech-savvy buddies use it and tell me it's spyware-free. They know, since it's open source.
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
more info
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by Ubber geek (325 comments )
Link Flag
WinMx is spyware/adware? Since when?
Wasn't aware that WinMx had such problems. Anyone care to comment?
Posted by PatrickRyan (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What WinMX has to say:
WinMX is a FREE file-sharing program like no other. It allows you to connect, download, and share files with MILLIONS of other users through the decentralized WinMX Peer Network. Once WinMX is installed, you'll have access to one of the largest and most diverse networks of shared media files in the world. And unlike many other 'peer to peer' software providers, we respect your privacy and will never sell you out to spyware. When you download WinMX, you're getting WinMX and only WinMX, no bundled spyware, no ads, no B.S.
Posted by d2r4 (21 comments )
Link Flag
Not as far as I know
I've never had a problem with WinMX and spyware. I do agree that it can "bog down" a network if you allow too many connections, but there isn't any spyware.
Posted by mixpix (3 comments )
Link Flag
WinMX is spyware free
WinMX [b]does not[/b] contain spyware.

There was an issue a while back, regarding it's [i]notification window[/i]. That's the small black area to the top-left of it's Window. It notifies you of new versions of the client -- and that's all.

Naturally, some paranoid people claimed it could be used by WinMX to spy on you.
Posted by SmokieUK (39 comments )
Link Flag
I have gotten no spyware from Win MX
I have used WinMX for a number of years and have never detected spyware originating from it. If I download a lot of files naturally it does slow down my computer but this is due to large amounts of bandwidth being used not due to spyware. WinMX is a very stable program.
Posted by toyotaas (6 comments )
Link Flag
Never have found any spyware, adware or malware in my WinMX so far. I have A2, Adaware, Spybot, Pest Patrol, Spycleaner and Spyware Doctor all installed on my computer and have run them all. Nothing detected yet.
Posted by Marvin E (1 comment )
Link Flag
Kazaa P2P File Sharing Threats
I have recently installed Kazaa along with another program called "Diet K". Initially I was hesitant to use Kazaa. I previously installed Kazaa (1 year ago) and had nothing but problems with my computer (spyware etc).
Diet K appears to remove unwanted spyware and tracking software, as well as scanning for viruses found at Kazaa users.
I have had a great downloading experience using Diet K without any problems of slow download times, spyware and the like.
I recommend anyone who wishes to use Kazaa to download files, to highly consider Diet K as a means to control Kazaa's downsides.
Posted by Bldg_Inspector (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
spyware and tracking software
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by Ubber geek (325 comments )
Link Flag
This is not news&
I have been clearing up the mess left by Kazaa on friends' PCs for well over a year.

Rather than tell us something we already know, it would be far more useful to put pressure on these anti-social companies that deliberately target the innocent, render PCs unusable and facilitate copyright infringement.

I am all for the freedoms that the web provides, but when I have to spend over half my time sorting out problems caused by those individuals and companies intent on spoiling the experience for others, it makes me very angry.

I ought to be able to use my time and skills to benefit companies and individuals.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.