Among the high profile adware firms out there, 180solutions has been one of the more vocal. Last year, the company (which was notorious for surreptitious installs) blamed bad distributors for the problem -- and promptly bought the worst one, effectively rewarding them. Realizing that looked bad, the company then sued some "rogue" distributors -- though some may ask why it took so long. Then, the company decided that it was going to "renotify" everyone who had their software to make sure they wanted it. Renotify, of course, is a bit of a misnomer, since so few people had been notified in the first place. The company followed this up by claiming it was changing the way its software was installed to make it nearly impossible for affiliates to have it install surreptitiously. Well, nearly impossible isn't quite the same thing as impossible, and malware researcher Ben Edelman has now documented a case where one affiliate has hacked its way around 180solution's "solution" allowing the software to be installed anyway -- without any approval at all. Edelman also details why 180solution's initial window explaining the software (if it is shown, which it wasn't in this case) is still incredibly misleading. Finally, Edelman points out that every time some security researchers point out these flaws, 180solutions immediately puts out self-serving press releases talking about how it shuts down those bad actors. As Edelman suggests -- it seems like 180solutions should be tracking down these bad affiliates on its own, before the researchers have to do it for them. Of course, as we've wondered in the past, is there any way for these firms to actually make money without surreptitious installs of their software?
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