Cloudeight InfoAve - Adware Alert

"Starware" (MIVO) has threatened legal action if we do not remove this page. Wonder why? Read this article, their letter to us and our response.

We believe that being an informed consumer is your best defense in a cyberworld full of tricks, adware, spyware, hijackers and worse. This article is provided to keep you informed and help you make educated decisions.

Starware appeals those  looking for free recipes, especially during holiday seasons - like Christmas, New Year's, Valentines Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving - or other local holidays where people are searching for new recipes to make for guests. The reason Starware (AKA "Smileytown" "Cursor Cafe", et. al.) is free is because it changes your browser settings, search settings, and displays advertisements*. Do you need more advertisements? Consider carefully the ramifications of installing the software bundle known by many names, including "Recipe toolbar", "Smiley Town", "Cursor Cafe" and possibly others.

If you see the ad below on the Web or in your email  Be alert - Read this entire article.  The links in the advertisement below have been disabled.

Much More than a "Recipe Toolbar" Starware is a bundle of software programs and is adware and browser/search manipulator*.

You get much more than a recipe toolbar when you install Starware- Take a look:

According to research done by Symantec, when "Adware.Starware" (Symantec's term) is installed, it performs the following actions:

Creates the following files:

%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\BrowserSearch\BrowserSearch.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\BrowserSearch\BrowserSearch.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\ErrorSearch\ErrorSearchOptions.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\ErrorSearch\ErrorSearchOptions.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\Layouts\PreferencesLayout.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\Layouts\PreferencesLayout.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\Layouts\ToolbarLayout.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\Layouts\ToolbarLayout.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\Manager\ManagerOptions.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\Manager\ManagerOptions.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\PopupBlocker\PopupBlockerOptions.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\PopupBlocker\PopupBlockerOptions.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\ProductMessaging\ProductMessaging.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\ProductMessaging\ProductMessaging.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\Reference\ReferenceOptions.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\Reference\ReferenceOptions.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\RelatedSearch\RelatedSearchOptions.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\RelatedSearch\RelatedSearchOptions.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\SearchMatch\SearchMatchOptions.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\SearchMatch\SearchMatchOptions.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\SimpleUpdate\SimpleUpdateConfig.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\SimpleUpdate\SimpleUpdateConfig.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\SmileyTown\SmileyTownOptions.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\SmileyTown\SmileyTownOptions.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\Timers\Timers.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\Timers\Timers.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\Toolbar\TBProductsOptions.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\Toolbar\TBProductsOptions.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\ToolbarLogo\ToolbarLogoOptions.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\ToolbarLogo\ToolbarLogoOptions.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\ToolbarSearch\ToolbarSearchOptions.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\ToolbarSearch\ToolbarSearchOptions.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\TravelSearch\TravelSearchOptions.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\TravelSearch\TravelSearchOptions.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\Weather\WeatherOptions.xml
%UserProfile%\Application Data\Starware\Weather\WeatherOptions.xml.backup
%UserProfile%\Local Settings\Temp\ICD1.tmp\setup.inf
%UserProfile%\Local Settings\Temp\ICD1.tmp\Starware_305.exe

%UserProfile% is a variable that refers to the current user's profile folder. By default, this is C:\Documents and Settings\<Current User> (Windows NT/2000/XP).
%ProgramFiles% is a variable that refers to the program files folder. By default, this is C:\Program Files.

Creates the following registry keys:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Browser Helper Objects\{CA356D79-679B-4b4c-8E49-5AF97014F4C1}

Adds the value:

"{D49E9D35-254C-4c6a-9D17-95018D228FF5}" = "Starware"

in the registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar

Adds the value:

"{D49E9D35-254C-4C6A-9D17-95018D228FF5}" = <values>

in the registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar\WebBrowser

Modifies the value:

"SearchAssistant" = "

in the registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Search

Creates a search bar in Internet Explorer.

If you receive or see an advertisement like the one at the top of the page in a spam email or other advertisement, consider carefully before you install it. You may get a lot more than you bargain for.  The Starware toolbar is more than a "recipe finder" it is, in fact a search engine manipulator, and, according to many sites*, it is adware.

The last thing most of us on our need is a toolbar that bundles other software (like Smileytown, Cursor Cafe, among others) with it and that's exactly what Starware does. According to many anti-spyware/adware sites the user does not give Starware explicit permission to install other programs. Either Starware or its affiliates send spam email. We never signed up to receive any emails from Starware yet we received several emails which contained the advertisement you see above.

A Google search performed on February 27, 2007 for the search-term "Starware+Spyware" yielded 257,000 results.

Starware is apparently offended by this article, and demands we remove it. Why?

This article contains only facts based on several trusted sources including, Symantec, and Computer Associates among dozens of others. Do your own research and see if anything we've said in this article is not backed-up by other sites.

We're not taking this page down because there is nothing on this page that isn't true and which isn't backed up by other sources. This page will remain where it is because an informed consumer is a wise consumer. We certainly hope that the information here will help you make an informed decision should you ever be confronted with an advertisement for the "Recipe Toolbar" or any other Starware product. Why does Starware insist we take this page down? What are they afraid of? We report the facts and you can decide for yourself.

Here are some screen caps taken on 2/27/2007 with the well-respected McAfee SiteAdvisor running:

*Here are some links to more information about Starware.

(Graphics, illustrations and text from the Starware advertisement and its trademarks and logos are used without permission and solely for the education of the Internet consumer.)

SpywareGuide Rates Starware a Risk and a Search Engine Manipulator (from SpywareGuide) "This adware program is in the form of a browser plug-in. This toolbar program makes your IE browser's start page. Using this toolbar to search will give the user places where they can buy products from their affiliates. Even when you do not use this search engine for you searches (such as, it will monitor the search behavior and display advertisements at the bottom on your IE browser."

"Starware" (MIVO) has threatened legal action if we do not remove this page. Wonder why? Read this article, their letter to us and our response.

(Graphics, illustrations and text from the Starware advertisement and its trademarks and logos are used without permission and solely for educational purposes.)

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