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Published on September 12, 2008 By terpfan1980 In Personal Computing

I'm pretty consistent on keeping consistent, at least when it comes to my 'puters.  I keep an eye on what I'm installing, and also check frequently on what may have been installed and needs to be updated.  In addition, I do my best to make sure I know the file and directory structure and keep things organized so I can find what I want when I want it.

With all that in mind, imagine my surprise when I see what seems to be a new directory, with programs and contents that I don't recall installing, sitting off the root of my system -- a new directory for something called "CallingCard" with a program/executable inside named "CallingCard.exe" along with a few other applets and such.  I don't recall installing any such thing and practice more than enough safe computing that I am fairly certain this wasn't something that could have snuck on my computer without me knowing it, and yet... there it sits.  Where'd it come from?  How did it get there?

Ah, more of my most favorite (to despise) method of having software wind up on a computer -- "sneak on ware", software that is snuck onto a computer without the computer owner knowing how it got there.

In this particular case, it seems that CallingCard.exe is part of the package "LogMeIn" which provides remote support once the CallingCard application is started up.  It was installed on my system when I installed a 'new' (beta) version of the SlingPlayer application -- a new public beta version that was made available by the folks at SlingMedia (the makers of the SlingPlayer).  It seems that the folks at SlingMedia anticipate enough issues with their software that they pre-install the LogMeIn application so that they can help the remote computer users that are using their products by remote control.

There's a discussion about the application and how it got installed here.  I hit that page via a little Google searching.

Honestly, I probably wouldn't have had a problem with the installation of the software on my system if it was properly installed (there's no add/remove or uninstall entry for it) and if I had been notified it was going to be installed, or even better, if I was offered the opportunity to choose whether or not to install the software, but sneaking the software onto my system, even if I am participating in a public beta and have accepted some terms that would seem to have allowed the install of the software, is not cool.

There is, reportedly, no way the software gets run without local operator intervention.  That's fine, and I assume that is the case, but I really hope the folks at SlingMedia re-think having this software get installed on customer systems without more notification and a way to opt out of the install.


Comments
on Sep 12, 2008

welcome to the exciting world of spyware

on Sep 12, 2008

Google Bars, Offline Help systems, Anti-Viruses, Firewalls... Do you really believe we all have full control over our costly machines?

You should try a few days with User_Control full blasting its way into your privacy on Vista - then, you'll realize any given Hard_Disk if filled with bazillions of registry_calling devices completely invisible to the common PC owner.

 

The trick is to be able to detect Trojan (etc) stuff from genuine *useful & essential* items installed by someone's idea of better computing activity.

Welcome to the Chaos of binary competition for your attention.

 

on Sep 12, 2008

I know nothing about SingMedia (and going by this I won't), but this is exactly what I hate about Google and the like... covertly nstalling phone home apps that you have little or no control over, even when you discover it's there.

I can understand MS, Apple and security apps installing communication devices for the purpose of updating and etc, but when it's data mining purely for the purposes of marketing and advertising, I find that unacceptable and invasive.

The question begging here is, with these covert installations, what is it have they got to hide/what is their agenda, that they need to resort to sneaking phone home devices without the consent or knowledge of the end user??

on Sep 15, 2008

I think you meant slingmedia stalker, not that I am trying to play spellchecker here. Slingmedia is a nifty device that allows you to see your satellite, DVD, etc thru the Internet from any computer capapble of connecting online. Kinda like taking you Satellite with you, where ever you go that has an Internet connection. An interesting device, but I am not that desperate for TV.

on Sep 16, 2008

An interesting device, but I am not that desperate for TV.

Me either... I got a TV tuner card and I can view DVD's from a number of in-house sources, that's plenty enough for me/my needs.

Besides, most/many people I know wouldn't let me near their comuters... they have no interest in desktop customisation and fear I would do something they wouldn't understand/know how to change back again.

I think you meant slingmedia stalker, not that I am trying to play spellchecker here.

I think you mean starkers... unless you're insinuating something else.

But yeah, it is a pain that spellchecker isn't working in FF for the forums lately... and that the edit button is frequently AWOL as of late.  I usually pick up on my typos as I'm posting - if not shortly afterwards - but lately I've noticed that the odd one or two has gotten through.

on Sep 16, 2008

I think you mean starkers... unless you're insinuating something else.

on Sep 17, 2008

This is why I always look for options to disable during install.  Years ago, when I was using StyleXp I would discover themexp.org packaged ad-ware in with the themes.  Even adobe packages google/yahoo toolbar with Reader.  So be careful and look for surprises when you install software (especially with new software companies for they look for alternate sources of income).

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