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Blue light special: Earn $10 by installing spyware

sears

Ars technica is reporting on the ruling from the FTC about the software shenanigans of Kmart and Sears. The marketing geniuses behind the parent company of Sears and Kmart decided they needed more information about the users of their website. Their solution? Offering $10 to users who install their custom software which phones home with data on just about everything they do on their computer. Not content with just browsing habits of webites, the software apparently recorded everything the user did online, including secure sessions. Under the settlement (PDF) with the FTC, Sears says they will stop collecting data and promises to destroy any and all information they’ve collected so far. Selling what websites you’ve been to, how much money you have, which prescriptions you take and what products you’re interested in for the low low price of $10 seems like a bargain.

Comments

  1. googfan says:

    wow.

  2. SoundwaveHi says:

    I’m pretty sure they’re not the only ones doing this…they just got busted. Oh yeah and I’m sure they’ll destroy all that data, and hey didnt the simpsons do this?

  3. Drew says:

    Holy sh*t. FTC- thank you. It’s refreshing to actually see a government agency :GASP: -do their job! And well! Things like that should be outright illegal, paid or not!

  4. Skitchin says:

    ten dollars you say?

  5. Zymastorik says:

    Like Soundwave posted, destroy it my arse. It’s another testament to how stupid end-users are. It doesn’t matter how many of us work to secure things when retards like these people give access to anyone who gill give them $10.

  6. Matt says:

    Is this still up? I want to install their spyware in a VM and get $10!

  7. urza9814 says:

    1) Create lots of virtual machines
    2) Install this software on all of them
    3) Profit!
    4) Delete them all and never use them again

  8. Pilotgeek says:

    @Matt & urza9814:
    I had that exact same idea, just setup a Linux box with a ton of vm’s and watch the cash pour in. Then the joke’s on them.

  9. DarwinSurvivor says:

    Unfortunately, this will probably never make it into the general public’s news so they will never get a bad name, except by us “geeks”.

    There is no possibility of world peace until the idiots stop running the country :(

  10. Tater says:

    The purpose of government is to protect the people not the people from themselves. In this case I gotta applaud the FCC, well done rather than imposing your moral will upon the populace you actually stopped someone from doing the populace harm. Now if they could only stay this focused all the time.

  11. Sears: social engineers… gotta love it. I wonder how many people signed up for this and how much data they really got.
    @DarwinSurvivor that settlement says they have to inform everyone that has this spyware how to delete… by a toll-free number and by their site (probably hidden in some mile long ToS/privicy policy they have linked to on the bottom in small font of their site). so in other words, no one dumb enough to get the spyware will ever know.

  12. NNM says:

    what if someone accidentally finds the db password, and accidentally makes a little backup of it?
    And then accidentally sells it..?
    Accidents happen…

  13. not really my real name says:

    We have yet another comment by googfan that will help us succeed in our day to day lives. We look forward to your next insightful comment, googfan.

  14. TALR says:

    Wow- I was gonna say something smart, but if you’re actually desperate enough to do that for $10 then- i can’t think of anything to say.

  15. Anon says:

    Time for a quick VM installation or 8.

    :D

  16. tinker monkey says:

    Very old stuff!!! I new about this six months ago

  17. tjhooker says:

    It’s the same social engineering that allows malware to continue to spread through email.

  18. Frogz says:

    windows xp.rar windows 2k.rar windows 98.zip(dont ask) all ready to extract and load into vmware in pristine install states, now, where do I get mah spyware???

  19. farthead says:

    This kind of crap is all over the place. They just got caught because they are sears. Many smaller companies get away with this day after day after day.

    Sheeple refuse to learn that Pee Cee thingy so they bay with the rest of the herd and click on anything they see.

    Bahhhh, I need to shop, bahhhh ohh lookie a clickie thingy! I’ll click it without reading… wheeeee! Computers are easy! I’m a programmer! Wheeee…

    Seriously, there should be an education and IQ requirement to even OWN a computer.

  20. Skitchin says:

    @farthead: lol! they’re selling macs to the dumb ones now, haven’t you heard?

  21. walt says:

    can anyone find out who the sell-outs are who developed this software?

    Tell everyone you know about this! It’s definitely time to stop giving kmart and sears our money if this is what they are going to do with it.

  22. packrat says:

    Great hack!!
    I wish I knew how they did this.
    Think the creator will put it up on instructables?

  23. 3riX says:

    @packrat LOL, maybe they will post the source code too.

    Anyway, I think it would be a bargain to install it on an unused PC then format the hdd. Rofl, bet that would piss ‘em off.

  24. jgrimm says:

    i build a home server wich this would be perfect for! run 20 some vmware machines and keep the cash coming lol

  25. Wwhat says:

    I’m sure they have in their EULA it must be a machine in regular use, and apart from that signing up a million fakes will make their graphs show it ‘works’ meaning some bastards get money from it for the plan, and meaning the thing will become even more popular because ‘case studies have show it works’

  26. kmartsux says:

    Man they’re still doing this? they got in trouble for this in 2000. giving the install discs that did this same thing. they were suppose to stop them at this then. wtf ? And how do I knowall of this?, I was a Kmart employee.

  27. ryzall says:

    i want to know more about it

  28. Bobby says:

    Like your site, buddy of mine sent me your link,bookmarked your site

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