The free download of SpyHunter4 only scans for malware. If you want it removed you need to pay for the full version.
I hate companies that pull this trick.
Enigma Software is suing Bleeping Computer for false advertising, defamation, and related claims because of what the latter characterises as a bad review posted about its software, SpyHunter. Bleeping Computer bills itself as "a technical support site and a self-education tool for the novice user to learn basic concepts about …
Well, the fact that Enigma Software Group USA, LLC US address is a storefront in a Florida shopping mall says a lot.
Enigma Software Group USA, LLC
2803 Gulf to Bay Blvd.
Clearwater, FL 33759
Their other offices are in Bulgaria & Lithuanian. http://www.enigmasoftware.com/about-us/
That's a bit simplistic. They can still be sued, may or may not win depending on whether *the defense* can prove the truth of the statement, which is a high bar and why most don't use that defense.
Either way the lawyers will take their cut from both sides first, so everyone loses.
This story links to the 'bad review', the bleeping computer forums flash up on entry a fundrasing page, which links to the same 'bad review' and my guess is that this will get attention in other national news outlets (as they do show an interest in companies undermining public created content on the web).
All Enigma Software has managed to do is aggressively promote comment on how bad they are.
You'd think that at some point, someone might learn the lessons of the Striesand Effect.
And that's before you start to ask, why does anyone have an obligation to give a good review rather than a bad review? (even though it's not a review at all) And how is it even 'advertising', so as to be falsely advertising?
No amount of trying the case in the court of public opinion is going to determine who is right on this one.
Sites and contributors should be free to provide legitimate criticism and opinion on products but those being criticised should equally be able to protect themselves from unwarranted, malicious and unfairly damaging criticism and falsehoods.
If neither side will back down; then that's what courts are there for. It is neither a unique nor novel situation, it won't likely set any new precedent, nor cause any earth-shattering collateral damage.
@Andy Taylor - "Enigma say that not including affiliate links to Spyhunter as well, Bleeping Computers are anticompetitive."
But are they specifically *prevented* from becoming an affiliate? Or do they simply *choose* not to be. It isn't anti-competitive to not advertise a company that chooses not to advertise through you*, if they are being quoted exorbitant rates (compared to Malwarebytes) then they might have a point - but I doubt it.
Furthermore, as the Bleeping Computer page points out, 'AV-Test' doesn't include Spyhunter in its list of regularly tested anti-spyware applications to determine its relative success rate against its peers. If Bleeping Computer has to advertise SpyHunter, along with Malwarebytes, then they have to advertise *every* piece of software that *claims* to be an anti-spyware tool. And thus AV-Test would have to test all of those software tools also. I'm going to guess that the particular tools that any review or advice site tests or advertises is entirely their choice, they aren't under any obligation to present an exhuastive list.
<CarAnalogy>A Car magazine doesn't have to review *every* hatchback in its hatchback roundup review does it? And they will have car adverts, but not for every car they review.</CarAnalogy>
* - Apologies for the multiple negatives in one sentence.
@Gordon861 - "Perhaps including Spyhunter as a special 'one time challenger' in the next AV-test might show how crap it is and end the case?"
Good idea, but I fear that has the danger of rewarding their bullying tactics and giving Spyhunter the air of legitimacy by being involved in a SPyware test at all.
I guess my point is - why should AV-test even give them the time of day? There might be other Spyware tools that don't get on the list that are more deserving than SpyHunter that haven't resorted to childish tactics to get noticed. Also, the AV-test result would then be itself the subject of litigation ('not fair', 'biased', 'badly carried out'). Most of these sites don't have the resources to contest litigation. If I was AV-test I wouldn't want to open myself up to that possibility if I didn't have to. And thus Enigma is self-punished by a lack of recognition from independant sources who don't want to touch them.
I agree with X7 but just in case, I'll Take the 5th.
I truly believe that as they are a pair of US businesses, we should take every opportunity to add fuel to the fire and see what goes bang!
I see punative damage claims for at least 1$bn on one side for defamation and $1bn on the other for compensation for damage to reputation, I demand a slice of courts award for ramping it up from a noisy pratt with apparently rubbish software who is sabre rattling, to helping increase the fighting fund for the other party.
25% is my normal fee.
To confirm my legal standing in this matter, I want both parties to know that, I have read the terms and conditions from my Gas supplier and understand some of it.
I have no evidence one way or another, but Enigma do sound like a bunch of tossers
I concur with this opinion, exclusively based on their own behaviour after having seen it confirmed in multiple online forums. Frankly, any company that takes to lawyers rather than use criticism to improve its product (where reasonable, of course) is in my opinion suspect and certainly not a worthy recipient of my money.
What I find interesting is that so many people complain about apparent deceptive selling but don't take it further to whatever is supposed to regulate the market in the US. I guess they already know that if it doesn't involve megabucks or lots of publicity, nobody is going to bother. In that respect do I like UK's Trading Standards and its ever-name-changing offshoots that deal with us plebs. They do actually act if you provide them with enough information.
Over the years, I have saved more infected PCs than I can count. Bleeping Computer is an oasis of good security advice and excellent tools for cleaning the latest scumware, particularly browser hijackers. The plaintiff sells a product that works like a piece of fly-by malware. I hope they rot in the circle of hell that is reserved for dodgy product vendors.
Other breaking news, I would never buy a security product with *Spy* in the name. You are just asking for trouble.
These views are my anonymous, cowardly opinion only (based on copious real-life experience) and do not implicitly reflect the views of El Reg or any other livid commentards. Sadly, we may one day need a legal liability disclaimer icon to speak our piece, if this shite continues. SLAPP 'em down BC, I wish I could afford to give you some money.
@AC - "I would never buy a security product with *Spy* in the name. You are just asking for trouble."
But what about an anti-spyware tool? Would it not be more meaningful to have the term 'spyware' and therefore 'spy' in the name?
Would you avoid an anti-coagulent as you would be worried they will clot your blood?
I suspect this is going to be one of the technicalities that will be held against BC, as it seems they don't have a disclaimer with words to the effect comments are the opinions of individuals and not BC...
They actually do have a disclaimer. It's in their User Agreement, Section 13, Para A:
A) No Endorsement of Contributions. You acknowledge and agree that Bleeping Computer LLC does not endorse the content of any member and is not responsible or liable for any Contribution, even though it may be unlawful, harassing, libelous, privacy invading, abusive, threatening, harmful, vulgar, obscene, or otherwise objectionable, or that it infringes or may infringe the intellectual property or other rights of another.
And all those billions of pieces of torrented music, films and software contained a text file with a disclaimer saying that using such music, film and software without an appropriate license is unlawful... so I have been told.
Yet big business was able to get entire web sites taken down, change legislation worldwide, and successfully sue individuals for millions because of a single illegal distribution, just to protect their IP.
So I'm not sure a disclaimer absolving the online publishing of independant reviews is going to hold that much sway.
Having had no experience with Enigma OR Bleeping Computer, it seems to me that if the review is even remotely accurate, that SpyHunter deserves to be in the same boat as McAfee was at one point and probably still is... recognised as malware by other anti-malware vendors.
"Other breaking news, I would never buy a security product with *Spy* in the name. You are just asking for trouble."
That may be too harsh. Spybot S&D is a honest product. Started as a personal undertaking.
Snippets from their old v1 EULA:
Dedication Public License (DPL)
Spybot-S&D is dedicated to the most wonderful girl on earth.
This means that I grant you the license to use Spybot-S&D as much as you like. But if you like it, I ask two things of you: say a prayer for me (and the most wonderful girl while you're at it ) to your god - or whatever you believe - and wish us some luck.
You are making the same mistake that Enigma Software is making.
According to Bleeping Computer, Spyhunter is said to employ aggressive advertising, coupled with some dubious auto-subscription-renewal policies and an uninstaller that supposedly does not work correctly under all circumstances. Bleeping Computer considers these all to be concerning application behaviour items
This is wrong.
This has not been said by Bleeping Computers. This has been said on the sites linked to and summarized by a commentator on the Bleeping Computers site.
Basically this is (yet another) claim that should run aground against section 230: Websites are not responsible for the posts by visitors.
1. BleepingComputer caves and pays a settlement because they can't afford to fight this one out in court.
2. The case goes to court and and Enigma loses (similar cases found that reviews were opinions and therefore protected free speech). Since they, like many of these scareware software producers are mere shell companies, will cease operations under its current incarnation and merely re-brand, a la Andersen Consulting.
You will note that the more established AV products will find and remove malware for free and are fully functional for a trial period.
I did a test a few years ago with a then widely advertised AV product. I had a genuine Windows XP installation CD, installed it in a VM, installed no software and put it to the test. It found several hundred problems. The company may have cleaned up its act since then but this is the best reason to avoid scareware (software that finds problems but won't clean anything till you fork over your credit card number).
I have no AV on any of my computers. Never needed one and therefore can't recommend any. I can recommend the afore mentioned ComboFix, HiJackThis and Sysinternals. These are intended for boffins and punters can trash their systems with these powerful tools if used incorrectly.
"cease operations under its current incarnation and merely re-brand, a la Andersen Consulting."
You appear to be deeply confused here.
Andersen Consulting re-branded itself as Accenture when it separated itself from the Arthur Andersen accounting arm, around 2001, although that was merely the final step in a divorce that had been brewing for years. Dropping the Andersen moniker was a condition of the deal: AC / Accenture was a profitably operating business both before and after; did not "cease operations" in any shape or form; and no legal shenanigans were involved.
Not long after, Arthur Andersen the accounting firm was dragged under in the Enron scandal, at which point everybody in Accenture breathed a sigh of relief that they had separated and renamed before the shit hit the fan. This may be what you were thinking of, but it's completely unrelated.
"Never used anything from Bleeping Computer except for ComboFix, which has saved bacon on many of my friends' and neighbours' computers"
Using that tool does often require following detailed technical instructions that is beyond some users.
The usual problem is that software is either running as a root kit, or as a service and cant easily be deleted as it locks it's files. You can run a free offline scanner that is relatively simple to use, and fixes a lot (but not all!) of these issues. See http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/what-is-windows-defender-offline
Yes, agreed. I was thoroughly confused by this story because of the similarity in the names of two completely unrelated products being such similar Trademarks and both of them being IT related. I wonder which one would win in a trademark dispute?
There's only one way to find out. FIGHT!!
(I'll put my money on the guy with the highly armoured and armed car/boat/plane)
Also, IIRC, one of the major decision points in a trademark dispute is if the average member of the public could be confused by the two competing trademarks.
> Most IT people know it as the website you go to when you've got a Windows PC infected with malware.
Never heard of it before this article. Nor has anyone in earshot.
> If you work with Windows desktops, especially personal PCs, you have probably run across ComboFix.
Nope (insert rambling anecdocte about installing Windows 1 from floppy to establish how long I've been at this).
> It would not be an exaggeration to say that Bleeping Computer is a vital part of the Internet's immune system.
Yes, it would.
> It would not be an exaggeration to say that Bleeping Computer is a vital part of the Internet's immune system.
Yes, it would.
No it wouldn't.
It is puzzling how someone who claims to do Windows support has never heard of BC especially since it is one of the top results anytime you search for "remove <MALWARE/TOOLBAR/FAKE AV/RANDOM POPUP/SEARCH REDIRECTOR>"
Perhaps you are still doing Windows 1.0 support?
I can't say I've heard either of them to be honest, good to know though.
It has however been a long time since I had to clean malware of a desktop, I think last time I did that Spybot and Adaware were top of the bill for removing malware.
But then I work infrastructure, so very little need to see a desktop bar my own. No need to be arrogant about it like no-one in particular however.
I have heard of, and indeed visited, Bleeping Computer, but I too would call the "vital part" phrase an exaggeration. If "Internet's immune system" meant anything, and wasn't just a deeply dumb phrase, then it would no doubt continue to stumble along were BC to disappear from the face of the web.
But then the phrase "It would not be an exaggeration" is a rhetorical flourish that nearly always introduces a blatant exaggeration.
Regardless: there is ample evidence to believe that BC is a useful resource for many people. The same can't be said of anything that has yet emerged from Enigma Computing.
I found that the poster went to very reasonable lengths to present factual information, complete with references, in as neutral a manner as possible. I don't think Enigma has much to stand on here. And, as others have pointed out, I am now aware of Combofix. That sounds massively useful in certain circumstances so, thanks for that.
"If Bleeping Computer kowtows to Enigma Software's demands, then reviews, recommendation and advice from Bleeping Computer instantly become suspect. How can a reader know if information was added or subtracted through legal coercion?"
Conversely, with their staff going off on one about competitors of the products they shill for, in a discussion asking for recommendations, how can readers trust their warnings against certain products?
I like Bleeping Computer. It was a lifesaver when dealing with some ransomware a while back, but they're not squeaky clean in this case.
If it were a post from a regular user slagging off Spyhunter, then ofc Enigma would be arseholes to pursue them legally.
It was a member of their forum staff who slagged them off though, which doesn't look great for BC.
So many people say "Ohhh you should be careful using it, its soo powerful you can ruin a machine with it!" Well to be honest if you are having to use Combofix that machine aint too great as it is.
Hmm well I've used it hundreds of times over the past 7 years (and contributed cash to the project) and it's never once caused an issue. Only helped fix crufted machines and set stuff back to how it should be.
Can't really see what all the fuss is about. Great tool. I use it as a final 'mop up' tool on the machine after I've scanned the HDD with several other tools.
Commentards, you might want to have a look at the on-going discussion on BC's forum about this matter. The boys at Enigma have been by to do some astrotruffing. They appear to be clueless scum.
In the interests of total disclosure, after seeing the astrotruffing I went to the trouble of registering at BC just so I could add a comment of my own.
Reading the story here, and doing some follow-up research elsewhere prior to my commenting at the BC forum has convinced me that SpyHunter is to be avoided. It has been added to my nuke from orbit list. If Enigma Software had not brought the suit, I'd not have gone to the trouble of looking them up, and simply wouldn't have cared one way or another about their software. Now I care.
Every day I read the articles in El Rag and nothing has ever got my dander up like this topic.
Let me explain, I remove viruses for a living ... for the last twelve years I have sat at my PC and reached out (via Remote Utilities) to poor souls who are trapped by the latest CryptoLocker clone or cannot search Google but have to rely on DuckGoDukCrud.com. My record is 31 Windows boxes cleaned in a day and my average is around 10 per day. Since I started I have only had to reformat/reinstall 11 times (each one burns in my memory) and I can state that Bleeding Computer is the number one site for help of this kind.
Spyhunter is also my friend as I get lots of boxes to clean where the owner has light show products like Spyhunter or SuperAntiSpyware and no AV.
All AV products are my friend as viruses get past them with a little help (read stupidity) from the owner.
What is the AV product that works?
Expect next post in a couple of years.
End of line.
... sounds like Bleeping Computers has stepped into the gap left when CastleCops shut down. After helping beta test stuff like TrojanHunter and Zone Alarm, I used to be Staff Editor over there and met/worked with many dedicated and knowledgeable people. I lost contact with a lot since then, but some will have been like me, hanging up the gloves as family and job situations changed, (as happened with Paul and Robyn Laudanski). Others went to carry on the fight at places like DSLReports - everyone has their favourite place, and all need supporting so that there are many places to go for advice. The ones that attract most attention from the forces of darkness tend to be the ones doing most to fight back - I remember one particularly nasty attempt to knock CastleCops off the web, but it was more or less under constant negative attention. It's not helpful to have to deal with it all, although at least it shows the site is effective - like a badge of honour.
Ok, back to now... ;-) </reminisce>
As soon as I know how much I have left after paying for the family holiday, I will be dontating as much as I can spare.
BC saved my bacon a few years ago; an infection, which I probably got from the college intranet, nearly deleted all of my degree coursework.
It took a week to recover everything that could be saved, and to get the PC working again, but that was 9 weeks less than it took the college IT department!!
Since then I have used the now defunct SDFix and ComboFix to sort out several family and friends PCs (IMHO most teenage girls should NEVER be allowed access to a computer!!!).
In one case, the virus total exceeded 40K, but ComboFix cleared out what MWB and SpyBot S&D couldnt get to.
The phrase you are looking for is "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation", also known as a SLAPP Suit.
You are a publicly accessible (rather than pay wall for participation) forum dedicated to Public Participation on a number of topics, and your postings about Enigma's SpyHunter fall clearly under the realm of Free Speach.
Tell your lawyer to draft up a SLAPP rebuttal to the suit & file it ASAP. The moment the Judge sees that phrase it will immediately put a serious crimp in Enigma's case, as now they will be forced to prove that they are NOT in fact attempting to Violate Your First Amendment Rights.
I am not a lawyer but I *have* used a SLAPP declaration to my defense successfully.
Good luck & here's hoping you get that utter festering shit stain at SpyHunter put out of business from the fines, penalties, & reimbursed legal fees.
SpyHunter is just adware crap that extorts credit cards from users and may install 3rd party apps.
Combofix, HiJackThis and Sysinternals are good but are designed for professional use and can destroy a Windows system if used incorrectly. Good fix it yourself solutions are the free version (will not run automatically) of several reputable companies. Good synopsis here: http://bit.ly/1QLRbqC
FYI: This company (http://bit.ly/1QLRT7f) is possibly even worse than Enigma. Enigma takes advantage of you with lies and misleading tricks. Finally Fast reportedly invents infections.
"Combofix, HiJackThis and Sysinternals are good but are designed for professional use and can destroy a Windows system if used incorrectly. "
But as I said earlier if you have to use them the system is pretty much toast if you don't. Makes zero difference. They are all fine to use. The alternative it just wipe it and start again. That's fine but sometimes not possible.
Like telling someone with cancer that chemotherapy is dangerous.
Hyperbole and pointless.
I know that gullible people won't like it but here it is: this article sounds to me like some sort of advertising, as long as bleeping computer worth millions according to this http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/announcement/frivolous-lawsuits/help-bleepingcomputer-defend-freedom-of-speech/ They just try to make money on the behalf of gullible people. Anyway, donate if you want for the free speech part of the article, if you want to help a greedy company as any other company.
I don't like the premise of anti-virus software, ALL of it is nothing different than making payments to the mob for "protection".
I have a strong suspicion that every one of these companies take that money & use it to finance the creation of new threats. Why would they do that? Because as long as there are new & novel threats, the victims will continue to pay money for new & novel solutions.
The only anti-virus I use is either included in the operating system (Windows defender) or else it's freeware (combofix, anti-malware, c-cleaner, and so on and so on).
I not only don't pay a dime for any anti-virus software but I pointedly refuse to pay a penny towards "donations" either. No money for no anti-virus.
However, I will grudgingly stump up $10 to defend the free speech.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019