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Turbo tax installing spyware


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Chris A's Avatar
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06-Jan-2003, 11:19 PM #1
Unhappy Turbo tax installing spyware
I read a forum where some guy started to complain about Turbo tax installing C DILLA, on his computer along with Turbo tax. after shutting down turbo tax C Dilla keeps on running in fact every time you restart your computer it is running.

If you only check one link check the last one on my thread for Spyware info

First forum

I did a Google search and found this Forum talking about the same thing.

Went to Spyware info to find the truth. Here is what they had to say.
Quote:
Do you use TurboTax by Quicken? Then you need to be aware that it has possibly installed a spyware trojan on your computer. We've had a thread running at the forums for a week or two about a third party application called C Dilla that is installed by TurboTax.

According to an article at privacyandspying.com, C Dilla is a copy protection program that installs without disclosure with certain programs such as game demos. It disables your CD burner when copy protected software is on your computer, monitors what copy protected software you are using and how, disables "certain" internet downloads, and possibly sends user data off to a remote server without permission.

Quicken makes no mention of this software anywhere on their web site (that I could find), although possibly there is some disclosure in the click-through EULA. Considering that it is illegal in many places to provide customer financial data to third parties without the customer's consent, if you use TurboTax to do other people's taxes for a living, this third party software might actually be causing you to break the law. I'm sure the application doesn't send financial data back to .... wherever ... but since it isn't discussed anywhere on the Quicken web site, how can we be sure?

C Dilla is now a target of Spybot S&D. At first the developer was worried that removing it might actually break one of these ridiculous copyright protection laws that Hollywood keeps buying in Washington D.C. I pointed out at Spybot's support forums that there is nothing illegal about a third party uninstallation program. Or that if there were, Microsoft was breaking the law itself with its add/remove control panel applet. I'd like to think that my argument helped persuade him to include this trojan as a removal target and I hope all the other spyware removal companies also add detection for it. Just be aware that removing C Dilla will most likely disable whatever installed it, as is the case with many programs that install spyware. Make sure your documents are backed up in a standard format and is accessible by whatever you replace it with.
This is Financial software and I do not feel too good reading about this as I have used there product for several years..

Here is the thread at Spyware info.

Quote:
The two things that worry me about bundling the damn thing are

1. It is a copy protection scheme that builds a databse...

2. It is not uninstalled when you send TT to bit bucket in the sky, to make room for next year's version....

Whether or not it actually calls home.....that is sort of unkown at this point. But building the database of copyprotected files (and almost everything commercial is in one form or another) at some point in time can be used to do things that no-one will really like.....

Check the reviews at Amazon

Last edited by Chris A; 07-Jan-2003 at 12:28 AM..
Chris A's Avatar
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06-Jan-2003, 11:39 PM #2
More info
Quote:
C-Dilla! "Copy Protection or Spyware?"

Copy protection maker covertly installs monitoring and CD-Rom copy prevention software on personal computers!!

Copy Protection--SafeDisc, SafeDisc HDô and SafeCast Goldô
Key benefits:

Protects against unauthorized consumer copying of PC software sold through retail, distributor and reseller channels.
Thwarts use of CD-recordable drives, re-mastering by professional pirates, and unauthorized Internet downloads.
Boosts revenues, discourages copying and opens new markets.
Increases retailer purchases of copy-protected titles and reduces store returns.
Creates additional selling opportunities and effective customer support via enforced user-registration information.
Incorporates anti-hacking technology that is effective against piracy.
Easy to implement, compatible with standard hardware configurations and transparent to the consumer.

For convenience I changed the list dots . to a numbered list.

1- Ok protects against unauthorized copying, fair enough, as long as the registered owner is able to create a backup.
2- If you read this line as comma separated values then each item is a separate function, which means "Thwarts use of CD-recordable drives..." is a separate function from "re-mastering by professional pirates, and unauthorized Internet downloads."
So what does all this mean to the consumer (read computer owner)? First it means they (Macrovision/C-Dilla) have installed software to monitor what I copy with my CD drive. OK.. Maybe not that drastic!! Well what in effect they have done is place a software program on Your Computer System that can be triggered by copy protected software to disable your CD drive and prevent it/you from copying a CD-Disc, which can be either a program or music CD. And prevent unauthorized internet downloads! Just how are they going to monitor what I download? Hmmm... without spying on my download activities...

3- "Boosts revenues, discourages copying and opens new markets." I think this is marketing hype! Plus it's the same argument used by the Music Industry to justify shutting down Napster.. (I use Napster and recently took the time to test the alternatives, and believe me, the FreeNet server system is probabily the way to go, as it is untraceable. User-to-user ever moving and changing..)

4- "Increases retailer purchases of copy-protected titles and reduces store returns." What they're saying here is it creates retail sales of copy protected products. That maybe true till the computer user community finds out what is happening/being done to their computers, than the s%&^ will hit the fan and the backlash against these companies will put them outa business!!

5- "Creates additional selling opportunities and effective customer support via enforced user-registration information." More marketing hype!!

6- "Incorporates anti-hacking technology that is effective against piracy." LOL (Laughting Out Loud)... I've been around computers since the mid-70's and every new copy protection scheme has more or less made the same statement. And in most cases all they managed to do is is frustrate users and watch their competitors, who didn't use copy protection, take the lead in sales/revenue... Anyone who dates back to the game culture of the early 80's can tell ya about the games, some very good, that died because of key-disks, hidden sectors on the hard drive and of course the red plastic (decoder ring stuff) lookup scheme's...
Psst!! Word of advice... The more convolted and intrusive the copy protection, the more people you piss-off, and the bigger the challenge for the crackers to hack it. So instead of developing customer/user loyalty and creating marketing opportunities you run the serious risk of protecting yourself all the way to Chapter 11...

7- "Easy to implement, compatible with standard hardware configurations and transparent to the consumer." This section is open to major interpretation. "Easy to implement", could that mean, once Macrovision/C-Dilla has covertly installed the LMS/CD copy protection/Download spoiler software on your computer system it's easy to implement it's functions by calls from an Install program or a Cookie from a web site.
"compatible with standard hardware configurations" which I take to mean that it works with the majority, if not all CD-Rom Drives to prevent them from copying any CD Disc that it has been told or suspects is Copy-Protected.. Gee, how does that work?
"and transparent to the consumer." I bet I know what this means!! It means that the Consumer/Computer Owner/User has absolutely no idea that this copy protection/spy software was installed on their computer.

This last point (#7) raises a whole lota issues with me, the first but not the least is the Macrovision/C-Dilla LMS software was installed without my knowledge, all you see when you run the program executable is a small popup dialog box informing you that "a" License Management System is being installed. No name that I saw.
Second it was not uninstalled when I removed the original program it came with, C-Dilla - License Management System is a separate install, that is of course, if you realize that something was installed and check Start Settings Add/Remove.

Why wasn't it installed with the main program and uninstalled with the main program? Well.. There could be any number of reasons,
1. the programmers who wrote the software don't know how to use or setup the install/uninstall software to totally remove all installed program components,
2. everyone has big hard drives, why bother or,
3. Macrovision/C-Dilla is using these trialware/demo programs to get the LMS (License Management System) onto as many computers as possable to demonstrate the effectiveness of their particular copy proection scheme at foiling piracy but more importantly the ability to prevent the illegal copying of DATA AND MUSIC CD's by shutting down the CD-RW installed on the offending computer. Why not!

For the sake of a good conspiracy, let's say I'm right. So, has Macrovision/C-Dilla made their Specifications for shutting down/preventing Your CD-RW Drive from making copies of Data and Music CD's known to the CD-Rom Drive manufacturers and the after market CD-RW software companies??

I hope so!! Because I'd hate to be on the Help Desk at HP or Sony when the calls start pouring in, complaining my CD-Rom Drive won't work, "I can't copy a CD Disc...." Unless, of course, there is a message! That's right. A big red dialog box jumps up and informs ya, "It is Illegal to make copies of this Disc, Data, Program, Music, whatever!"

Copy proction may be a necessary evil, but the Macrovision/C-Dilla LMS system has gone too far when;
1. The Program being installed and Macrovision/C-Dilla DO NOT INFORM THE USER that this software is being installed,
2. That Macrovision/C-Dilla in any manner ATTEMPS TO HIDE THEIR INSTALL from install monitoring or registry tracking software,
3. That Macrovision/C-Dilla DOES NOT UNINSTALL with the original software, when it is removed/uninstalled from the system. Because C-dilla requires a separate uninstall, which in all likely hood, the user never knew existed.
As a 4th point I was going to include a reference to the Interferience with the users CD-RW but I don't understand all the calls being made by the C-dilla software/dll's so I am arranging to send them to Steve Gibson at GRC for analysis. Should there be, any illegal calls/interferience with the operation of an installed CD-RW Drive, that information will be posted here.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


By now you're probabily wondering how this all got started..?

I test a lot of software in the run of a year. Always being asked to recomend programs, I have to keep up-to-date on what's new and improved... (Which is almost impossable, but I try anyway!) Actually, I was asked how "I" would provide 60 seconds of video, in a presentation form, that could be e-mail as an attachment (prefered methed), viewed from the web and downloaded as part of a promotional package with Word .doc's, and/or distributed on 3.5 disk. After a few questions I had an idea what they wanted but was of the opinion the email attachment would be greater than 1meg which (my opinion) wouldn't be approtiate.

Give me a couple days and I'll see what I can come up with. I said.

I looked at the .AVI and considered some options like install and run, self running .exe, Real Networks SMIL, DemoShield, Ulead Video card, autorun software front end... Gee it's still BIG!! And not that I didn't like some of the options it's just they weren't right somehow.

So I decided to take a look at the latest version of DemoShield by the InstallShield. I have a previous demo version installed and wanted to see what had changed. WOW! Was I in for a shock!!

DemoShield installs easy enough, but when you run the program executable for the first time, Macrovision/C-Dilla install their LMS which caught me off-guard. So I decided to uninstall DemoShield and check to see it All Uinstalled. Which it didn't! As I had monitored the first install I could compare it with the second install report. They were identical.

Then I monitored the what was going on when I tried to run the program .exe for the first time, the report showed the installation of the Macrovision/C-Dilla software and registry entries. I did a quick search for "c-dilla" and get their url and surfed on over to see who they were, this lead me to the Macrovision site where I copied the above material on the key benefits of using the SafeDisc, SafeDisc HDô and SafeCast Goldô copy protection schemes.

After reading the benefits a few times, I began to wonder just what they were up to, and just how are they going to accomplish some of these features without spying on my system or worse My Activities.

Next I uninstalled DemoShield (2nd time) and started the process of comparing the install report against the actual contents of my hard drive and registry.

DemoShield used the Microsoft Installer (MSI) option which leaves CSLID entries under installed components in registry that have to be removed. And creates these four files in the /AppLog/ directory which have to be deleted.
C:\WINDOWS\APPLOG\DEMO32.1.LGC
C:\WINDOWS\APPLOG\DEMO32.1.LGD
C:\WINDOWS\APPLOG\DEMO32.2.LGC
C:\WINDOWS\APPLOG\DEMO32.2.LGD

Macrovision/C-Dilla creates the following file in the /AppLog/ directory, C:\WINDOWS\APPLOG\CDILLA64.LGC
C:\WINDOWS\APPLOG\CDUNIN16.LGC
And what is the ".LGC" extension you ask? A quick check of common file extensions says it's associated with MS Excell. Well, it's a password protected Excell Comparison file saved as a ".LGC" file. The example I was given goes like this; you create a calculation/formula to say determine if too much clorine is in a water sample by analysing the test results supplied to the Excel spreadsheet by the test equipement. These number are tested by the formula which is then compared by the password protected comparison .LGC file. (probably not exact, but you get the drift)..
Found here
Chris A's Avatar
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07-Jan-2003, 09:06 PM #3
This died way too soon.
slipe's Avatar
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07-Jan-2003, 09:24 PM #4
I agree that it died too early. It is sufficiently over my head that I couldnít make intelligent input.

I found it interesting and I do use TurboTax. The observation that disabling the spyware would likely disable the program leaves me with no options but to find a way to revert to a new tax program or live with the spyware. Redoing things like depreciation in another program isnít appealing. If you find a way to clear C Dilla out and leave the program functional I would be interested.
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07-Jan-2003, 10:04 PM #5
Intuit claims it isnít spyware, but I donít like the activation crap in any case. Iíll give TaxCut a try this year and see if is too much hassle to switch. Article at my level: http://news.com.com/2100-1017-979357.html?tag=fd_top
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07-Jan-2003, 10:21 PM #6
Heck... it's over my head too, but worthy of the front page!

(they're creepin' in on us again folks... look alive)
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Steve-x8086 Steve-x8086 is offline
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08-Jan-2003, 02:28 PM #7
Very good reading. I ran into a similar problem with last years (2001) TurboTax. It tried to install a different version of IE than I wanted to allow.

As for the CDilla, I have confirmed that it does not uninstall when TT is uninstalled. It does leave a folder that carries it's name (CDilla). It appears that if you delete the folder, all of CDilla is removed. However, if CDilla is deleted, Turbo Tax will not run.

Important: If you don't delete CDilla (regardless if you have deleted TT or not) other software, CD's and files you are downloading can activate CDilla and it can interfere with your computer.

Last: When Turbo Tax is installed, you must now either be OnLine to register your copy or you will have to call Intuit to get a code number to Activate your copy. It cannot be run without doing one of the above.

Thanks for posting this thread.

Steve-x8086
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08-Jan-2003, 02:49 PM #8
I've used Tubo Tax many times too, and this info is quite unsettling. I guess I would use it really fast and then remove it and the obnoxious spyware from the registry. Do they want us to go back to paper? I always e file and love the convenience and speed of things. This is just a shame, but thanks for posting about it Chris. We all need to watch out for each other.
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10-Jan-2003, 04:15 PM #9
I've used it for many years too. I'll be looking for a different s/w package next year! Too bad I didn't know this before I had purchased and installed the product.

Here's an interesting read

I really hate the fact that it installs without your permission or knowledge! It should be clearly stated on the package! Now if I need to reinstall for ANY reason I will have to purchase another license.

That doesn't even begin to address the solution for complete removal....
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11-Jan-2003, 09:31 PM #10
Before I deleted turbotacky using the add/remove function in Windows control panel, I "removed" Safe Cast Shared Components. Although add/remove reported that the program was deleted, I checked with Windows Explorer and found the file still there. I then deleted the file in Explorer, and tried to start turbotacky, but it wanted me to activate again. Finally I restored the C_dilla folder from the recycle bin and then deleted turbotacky and found that this did not delete the C-dilla folder, so that it remained doing who knows what with my computer. I then deleted the folder directly from Explorer, but how do I know that it, or something else that was installed without my knowledge, is not lurking somewhere?
Intuit trusts no one; is it because they have shown that they are not trustworthy?
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12-Jan-2003, 02:37 AM #11
AnyKey might have the solution. Make a ghost of your boot drive before installing TurboTax. Do your taxes and make another ghost to store on CD in case you need to use the tax info. Restore the original ghost and the computer is clean. It takes only a few minutes to ghost or restore the boot drive if you donít keep data, photos, MP3s etc on it. I ghost it from time to time anyway.

I still donít much like the activation crap. TaxCut is cheap so I donít have much to lose by trying it.
Chris A's Avatar
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13-Jan-2003, 04:43 AM #12
http://www.compusa.com/products/prod...pe=rb#moreinfo



CompUSA's flyer offers TaxCut Standard for $14.99 - $5 MIR - $10 MIR = FREE.
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13-Jan-2003, 11:00 AM #13
Chris: According to Sales Circular the retail stores have a deal where you have to buy MS Money at the same time and send in all the rebates Ė I think you end up with both free. Staples has the same deal Ė thanks for the tip.
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15-Jan-2003, 04:24 PM #14
The only problem with buying the Standard version of tax cut is you don't get the State program and electronic filing free after rebates then. To get those you have to go with the Deluxe version. Incidentally, Turbotax does the same thing. You have to get the Delxe version to get the free State program but the electronic filing is free with all versions


One other note, while trying to research the versions of turbotax to confirm the above statement, turbotax.com asked me if I wanted to install Gator.
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frenat frenat is offline
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16-Jan-2003, 12:59 AM #15
To Slipe

Quote:
The observation that disabling the spyware would likely disable the program leaves me with no options but to find a way to revert to a new tax program or live with the spyware. Redoing things like depreciation in another program isnít appealing. If you find a way to clear C Dilla out and leave the program functional I would be interested.
I just a copy of Tax Cut Deluxe. On the package it says it can import data not only from Microsoft Money but Quicken and Turbo Tax, so switching may not be all that hard.

Also, Intuit now offers an uninstall for cdilla via an update but again if uninstalled before Turbo Tax is uninstalled then Turbo Tax stops working.
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