The popular Digsby instant messenger client has been accused of being packed so full of ‘optional’ junkware that it has become a healthrisk.
According to Lifehacker, if you don’t pay attention when you install the software you could end up with six programs that could do some serious damage to your privacy and bandwidth.
During the install you are prompted for not one, not two, but six different pieces of junk software, and then they offer to replace your home page with something useless and then use a search engine that no one wants.
Some of the junkware tracks everything you are searching online and shows you “offers” in a sidebar so it is not like it is the sort of software that anyone in their right mind would want.
Lifehacker had a look at Digsby’s Terms of Service and discovered that in the fine print there was some phrases that meant that the outfit could use your CPU to run distributed computing problems that make them money.
The exact terms were “You agree to permit the Software to use the processing power of your computer when it is idle to run downloaded algorithms (mathematical equations) and code within a process. You understand that when the Software uses your computer, it likewise uses your CPU, bandwidth, and electrical power.”
The software will use your computer to solve distributed computing problems, such as but not limited to, accelerating medical research projects, analyzing the stock market, searching the web, and finding the largest known prime number.”
It means your computer could be used to search the web. So if anyone worked out how to crack this functionality it could mean your IP address could be fronting all sorts of criminal acts.
Currently it is being used by an outfit called Plura Processing which is using the zombie computers in Digsby’s network to crawl the web for data to improve its searches.
True the functionality is optional but if you wonder why your computer is running slowly you might want to uninstall Digsby. There’s more here .