Spyware AdWare Software Reviews

Gator / Gain Adware Removal

What Is Gator / Gain?
Gator AdWare

Before coming to be known as an annoying style of adware, Gator eWallet a.k.a Gator was created to serve the purpose of an automated online form filler. The Gator eWallet contains software used in the GAIN system, like DashBar, Date Manager, EntryPass, GotSmiley, Precision Time, Weatherscope, WebSecureAlert, ScreenScenes and Offer Companion. Of these “Offer Companion” was the cause of the pop up ads and the others listed were responsible to a certain extent. GAIN Publishing launched the Gator eWallet, where GAIN is an acronym for Gator Advertising and Information Network, today; this same company is renamed as Claria. The reason the name has been changed is to shake off the stigma associated with it as an adware or spyware program. On October 1, 2006, Claria formally shut down the pop-up ad delivery and then stopped the use of the GAIN system.

 

How Does It Work?
Gator in Computer

For users that installed Gator on their PC’s, the effects of the application were quite noticeable. The Gator system worked by analyzing the text on the Web page the user visited and matched it with the keywords in the Gator Database of ad/keyword pairs. No sooner these were paired, Gator pop-ups were generated covering nearly eighty percent of the original site. This proved to be an inconvenience to most users and the sites that were used in such an immoral manner received no compensation from Claria. Claria then called this form of advertising as Contextual Advertisement, however to most users this was seen as a form of adware and spyware marketing. Correct and ethical contextual advertising takes permission from websites to provide such ads and compensates website owners.  So when a users computer was linked to the Claria servers, the kind of information being sent to the servers and to what extent was the user surfing habit tracked was unknown.

Who's Infected By Gator Adware

According to a number of reports the use of Gator was quite extensive, with more than a million users and nearly fifty percent were unaware of its installation. Others installed unsuspectingly when installing from software bundles, or via ActiveX methods etc.  A lot of people had their browser settings for ActiveX controls at low security, so Gator was installed easily with no alarm. Those who had higher security settings were warned of the imminent download and were capable of terminating it.

Can Gator Be The Problem To All My Suprise Popups?

Gator requested sites to use the tailored ActiveX method since it used a pop-under that warned users of the download no matter what level of security they had. They also informed users that when Gator operated on boot the users were informed, however these activities were mere deceptions by Claria. Because most of the users were vague on how it was installed and what methods were used in monitoring and ad deliveries. The users that downloaded the Gator application knowingly were only aware that they would receive ads related to their surfing habits. But they did not know that this would harm the sites they visited, since they would be so called ‘‘GATOR’d’’. This was because Gator was not permitted to display ads on the sites, the site owners received no compensation for such an activity and the major concern was that the victim website was cloaked completely which gave it a visibility disadvantage.

The Damage

To understand the damage done by Gator to victim websites, it is essential to know how the Gator application worked. The web pages that the user would visit had their graphics and ads present overlaid with Gator’s graphic ads. This was done with such perfection that the Gator Ad’s would exactly fit in the dimensions of the original ads or graphics on the website and would give the user the impression that the Gator ads were a part of the actual website. This method of super imposing of ads was later discarded by Claria or then known as Gator Corp because it would lead to possible litigation.

The main purpose of Gator was initially to be used as an automatic form filler but the branched into contextual advertising that was unethical in the industry and gave the application and program a bad name in the long run. So for users that would not like their surfing habits monitored and prefer their privacy removing an application like Gator would be advisable. There are three ways of removing the Gator application; first way of removing it is by restoring the PC to its last known settings. Since Gator is capable of merging with Windows version this might not be effective for all users. The second way of removing this application is quite risky, but quite simple and involves the manual removal of Gator registry keys and program files.

Spyware Banner

The following are the entries that would have to be removed:


%UserProfile%All UsersStart MenuProgramsStartupGator EWallet.lnk
%UserProfile%All UsersStart MenuProgramsGator EWalletGator WebSite.URL
%UserProfile%All UsersStart MenuProgramsGator EWalletGator EWallet.lnk
%UserProfile%Local SettingsTempsetup.exe
%ProgramFiles%Gator.comGatorGator.exe
Remove the following registry keys:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftewareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionRun Trickler = "{spyware path and file name}"
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID {21FFB6C0-0DA1-11D5-A9D5-00500413153C}
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareGator.com

Lastly, but the most effective way of removing Gator is by using an anti-spyware software. There are plenty of anti-spyware available on the Internet, but it is important to avoid the adware based softwares. Read reviews, using recommendations from friends, family etc that work for then choose the one most suitable.

Friendly Advice

In a nutshell, Gator is a low risk, non-injurious adware that affects Windows XP, 2003, 2000, ME, 98 and other Windows server platforms. It has the ability to replicate quickly and install adware, spyware and other threats on the system> It is also capable of monitoring the users every Internet surfing habit; automatically update using an Internet connection. The anti-spyware industry has projected that Gator has affected more than four hundred thousand machines. Though there is a paid version that does not run advertisements, it is advised not to use such an application that can store usernames, passwords or basically any login information.



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