What is n-CASE and do I need it?

Question

I am receiving an n-CASE Alert Warning telling me that the system has detected that a third-party application has removed n-CASE, possibly without my consent. This may cause some programs not to run as expected. Please choose the option to Re-install n-CASE or leave n-CASE un-installed. What is n-CASE and do I need it?

-Steve

Answer

This question was answered on May 20, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

According to the n-CASE web site "it is a permission based search assistant application made available via free software and websites n-CASE is a small application that is downloaded to your computer and runs in the background looking to automatically display websites with information, offers and products that match keywords that you are looking for when you are shopping or searching online."

It is now being called 180search Assistant, but the bottom line is it’s what’s commonly known as Adware or Spyware.

n-CASE makes deals with various software providers (mainly free programs) and web sites to include their 'search assistant' with the primary program or as a condition of accessing content on a web site.

I refer to this type of software as ‘parasite programs’ because they hide within the installation process of another program.

Because very few users ever read the EULA (End User License Agreement) before clicking on the ‘I agree’ button and then clicking ‘Next, Next, Next, Finish’, these types of programs are proliferating on the Internet.

The most likely accomplices include peer-to-peer file sharing programs for downloading music, free screensavers, free games, free Internet accelerators or just about anything that you can download for free.

Very few software developers want to work real hard for free, so they sell 'access' to users via their 'free' programs to companies like n-CASE to generate revenue.

Once these programs are installed, they go to work in the background of your computer, constantly monitoring what you do online and displaying various web sites to you based on your search criteria.

If you are running any kind of spyware detection and removal program such as SpyBot or Ad-Aware (both are available at the recommended software link at www.datadoctors.com), it probably got rid of this pest, which is why you are getting the error message.

The n-CASE program is trying to trick you into reinstalling it, with the hopes that you won’t know what it is.

In some cases, the free program that you downloaded and installed that n-CASE was hiding inside of will not run once the n-CASE program has been removed.

If that happens, you have to make the decision of whether to allow this pest to remain in your system or to stop using the ‘free’ program that it came with.

Any program of this nature that runs in the background not only causes irritating responses to your web requests, but it also steals valuable resources from Windows, which causes it to run slower.

Most computers we service on a daily basis have hundreds of instances of spyware and adware installed that the user had no idea existed The combination of various spyware and adware programs all running in the background at the same time can cause severe performance issues on even the fastest computers.

Your best bet for keeping this junk out of your system is to be very picky about what you allow to be installed into your system and what types of web sites that you visit Often times on the Internet, "free" does not really mean 'free'!

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on May 20, 2004