Is it true that Kazaa has a program hidden in it that silently sends
information and if so, how can I stop it?
This question was answered on April 13, 2002. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
When Napster was forced to shutdown its free service, a whole host of other file sharing utilities sprung up to fill the void that was left The popularity of these utilities has skyrocketed because in addition to swapping music files, users are able to share video files, pictures, documents and even software Amongst them is <a href="http://www.kazaa.com" target="_blank"><strong>Kazaa</strong></a>, which is reported to have several million users In addition to the potential for massive copyright violations, users of these utilities should be aware of several other issues The first is the potential for users to accidentally share personal documents on their hard drive with the millions of other users I wrote about this problem earlier and have the specifics posted at <a href="http://www.datadoctors.com/help/kenscolumns/3913-The-dangers-of-file-sharing-programs/" target="_blank"><strong>www.datadoctors.com (look for ‘The Dangers of file sharing…’).</strong></a> The second is the ability for software that was bundled with Kazaa to track your usage and send information about your usage back to a centralized server And now we learn that the latest version of Kazaa (v1.6) includes control software from another company, <a href="http://www.brilliantdigital.com/content.asp?ID=779" target="_blank"><strong>Brilliant Digital</strong></a>, which silently installs on the hard drives of Kazaa users This software can be remotely ‘turned on’ by Brilliant so that they can use your computer’s processor, empty hard drive space and bandwidth to perform tasks when your are not It’s known as ‘distributed computing’ and was first used by the <a href="http://www.seti.org" target="_blank"><strong>SETI Institute (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence – www.seti.org)</strong></a> to find ET The difference is that participants of the SETI project volunteered the use of their computers, while Kazaa users (because no one reads the fine print of the User Licensing Agreement) had it snuck in on them Brilliant claims that they will have an opt-in system and that some form of compensation could be created (and I stress could, since the ULA states that they are in no way obligated) to reward users that participate If you want to continue using Kazaa but don’t want Brilliant Digital’s software to be able to include your machine in their scheme, here is what you can do:<strong> 1 Open the Add/Remove icon in the Control Panel 2 Find the ‘b3d Projector’ entry and remove it 3 Look for a BDE folder that could be in a number of places depending upon your version of Windows (use the Search or Find utility from the Start menu to find it.) 4 Rename or delete the BDE folder (Caution: if you are running the Borland Database Engine, it may be a required folder, so be sure before deleting.) 5 Remove the Brilliant folder (if it exists) from the c:\windows\temp folder 6 Search for any files that start with ‘bde’ on your entire hard drive If you find any of the following, delete them: bdeclean.exe bdedownloader.dll bdedata2.dll bdefdi.dll bdeinsta2.dll bdeinstall.exe bdesecureinstall.cab bdesecureinstall.exe bdeverify.exe bdeverify.dll</strong> Kazaa, by default, also installs a handful of other programs (unless you were paying attention during the install) that I call ‘nuisance-ware’ which can also be removed While you are in the Add/Remove utility, look for <strong>New.Net, CommonName and SaveNow</strong> in the program listing and get rid of them as well They provide nothing of substance and serve only to slow down and waste space on your computer.
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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on April 13, 2002