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Security Alert! Marketscore Spyware Redirects Web Connections

Marketscore claims to speed up access to the Internet by rerouting all incoming and outgoing Web traffic from a user's Windows computer through its own servers. If Marketscore software is installed on your computer, this rerouting gives Marketscore access to all of your Web activity.

On This Page:

What Is Marketscore, and Why Is It Dangerous?

MarketScore Collects All Your Web Data

Marketscore can monitor and collect all data you enter or receive via your Web browser, including:

  • Every Web page you access and all data on each Web page -- both regular html pages and secure https pages, such as data you are authorized to view in Wolverine Access.
  • Every keystroke you enter in a browser window, which could include your passwords, banking information, credit card numbers.
  • All of your Web-based e-mail - both message content and e-mail addresses.
  • All of your instant message exchanges.

Marketscore Decrypts Your Secure Transactions

Furthermore, Marketscore can read secure, encrypted (https) data, such as student or human resource information that you access for your personal use or to do your job at UM, your user names and passwords, your banking and credit card information. Because it is so invasive, anti-spyware vendors categorize Marketscore as one of the most dangerous spyware programs.

How Marketcore Uses Your Data

Marketscore's Web site states that it "is a service of comScore Networks, Inc and assists comScore Networks in providing information on Internet trends and usage activity." Through comScore, Marketscore sells the data it collects from you to retailers and market researchers. Although Marketscore has a privacy policy, it states that it may change its policy at any time with no notification. People who sign up for this service must visit the Marketscore Web site to see if the policy has changed.

Can Marketscore Enhance Your Web Access?

As for Marketscore's claim that it speeds up your Internet access, the browser software on your computer can do that, and your requests don't have to pass through the Marketscore site before you view a page. Sam Curry, vice president of ETrust Security Management, said, "People who have installed the software complain to us that they're not getting any improvement."

UM's Response to the Marketscore Issue

UM is circulating information to increase awareness and providing resources for avoiding Marketscore, or for removing it if it is already installed. If you use a computer that is owned by the University and only your system administrator has administrative rights to install software on it, it is probably not endangered.

If you own the computer you use or if you have administrative rights on the UM computer you use, follow the recommendations in the next section to ensure that your computer is protected from Marketscore and other malicious spyware and adware.

UM is also considering proactively blocking access via its networks to marketscore.com from infected computers that try to connect to it, and UM is considering urging operators of sensitive Web sites to proactively block inbound Web traffic from marketscore.com.

How to Keep Marketscore off Your Computer

  • Update your McAfee VirusScan software to version 8. It is free to all UM students, faculty, and staff, and it can identify Marketscore and help you remove it if it is on your computer. You can download VirusScan 8 from the UM Virus Busters Web site
  • Install an antispyware and an antiadware program
  • Be cautious when you use file sharing programs. Because Marketscore is bundled with unrelated software such as the Imesh file sharing program, you may not realize that this software is running on your machine.

What to Do if Marketscore Is on Your Computer

Use one of the following three methods to remove Marketscore if it is already installed on your computer:

  • If you have installed McAfee VirusScan version 8, you can go to the McAfee Web site and use the instructions on how to use VirusScan 8 to remove Marketscore.
  • Follow these steps to use Windows 'Add or Remove Programs,' to remove Marketscore:
    1. Click Start and open the Control Panel.
    2. Click Add or Remove Programs.
    3. Locate the Marketscore Installation, highlight it, and click Change or Remove.
  • Use the instructions provided by Columbia University to manually remove Marketscore.

UM Resources if You Need Help With Marketscore

If you need help with Marketscore, contact the computer support staff in your unit. In addition to this ITSS information about Marketscore, the following UM resources are available to help UM students, faculty, and staff.

More Information About Marketscore and Related Problems

Other Marketscore Information

Other Universities' Marketscore Sites