Do You Ignore Your Software Security? Yes You Do!

Sure, you, too, are ignoring your Attendant Design software security! That is unless you are one of the 0.1 percent of users who do read the End User License Agreement (EULA, also known as software license). Otherwise, well, you sign contracts blindfolded because that box is full of legal mumbo-jumbo when you install a program… yes, it is a contract!

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Software security wouldn’t really be an issue, if all software licenses were simple agreements setting out reasonable terms of use. Unfortunately, most are lengthy texts with legal slang that leave those few who do read them bedeviled and thwarted. Some enclose terms to which the ordinary user would object if he acknowledged what he was agreeing to. For example, in extension to protection against cracking, many software licenses now contribute the software company the right to gather information about your computer and have it automatically sent to the software marketer. In particular, software licenses for freeware hold clauses whereby you agree to install added software you do not want, some of which are conspicuous spyware or adware. As a result, one might assume that the freeware is to blame for all the bad things that have happened; however, isn’t it the end-user who doesn’t read the legal material? Who is to blame?

Either way, people do not read the EULA. When downloading and installing software, we are usually curious about what the new software will bring. That EULA is just one more thing to drop time on because it is usually not readable in a short amount of time, hence not read at all. But indeed, the next thought that then arises is: what have you agreed to when you clicked I agree? Especially with freeware, there can be an even greater problem. Freeware is not always free. Sure, it is not free to reverse engineer, modify, or redistribute freeware, but there is also the kind of freeware that is disguised as adware or even as spyware Atticus Blog.

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An example.

Remember from about 5 years ago when Gator created a storm of protest. Its GAIN Publishing End User License Agreement stated that the user was automatically agreeing to install the GAIN AdServer software when accepting the EULA. So, the software license gave the company permission to install software that collected certain identifiable information about web surfing and computer usage. This software came immediately along with the freeware and was installed in the same process. At the end, this resulted in a display of all types of ads on the user’s computer.

Next the EULA mentioned that Gator even unauthorized the use of popular uninstallers for their own tools on which countless people trusted to remove this unwanted stuff from their machines. But also, users were prohibited from using devices like web monitoring programs or similar on the GAIN AdServer and its messages, thus eliminating all possible control. Obviously, such clauses are no longer related to software protection against cracking and were more than a bridge too far for many users.

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Spoke at an international conference about implementing dolls in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Spent 2002-2007 working with human growth hormone in Pensacola, FL. Spent college summers exporting foreign currency on Wall Street. Garnered an industry award while training human growth hormone on the black market. Spent 2002-2007 promoting fatback in Libya. Spent 2001-2007 implementing jack-in-the-boxes in Libya.

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