Security Alert! Marketscore Spyware Redirects Web Connections on Windows
"Computer users should have the security of knowing
their privacy isn't being violated by software parasites that have secretly
burrowed into their hard drive."
--U.S. Senator Ron Wyden
On This Page:
What Is Spyware?
Spyware is surveillance software that is installed on a computer without
the user's knowledge. If it is on your computer, whoever controls the
spyware can gather information about you. You may not even know that spyware
is on your computer -- it's bundled with games, screensavers, and peer-to-peer
file-sharing programs including Bearshare, Kazaa, Imesh, Limewire, and
Why Is Marketscore Spyware So Dangerous?
Marketscore claims to speed up Internet access, but it is actually spyware
that compromises the security of the following Microsoft Windows operating
systems: XP (all versions, regardless of service pack); 2000/2003 (all
versions); NT 4.0; 95, 98, 98 SE, ME. Marketscore does not affect computers
with Macintosh or Linux operating systems.
Marketscore collects all Web data by rerouting all incoming and outgoing
Web traffic from a computer through its own servers. If Marketscore software
is installed on your computer, this rerouting lets Marketscore monitor
and collect all data you enter or receive via your Web browser, including:
- 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.
- 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.
- All of your instant message exchanges.
Learn more about Marketscore
including how Marketscore decrypts your secure transactions, how Marketcore
uses your data, and the truth about Marketscore's claim to enhance your
How to Keep Marketscore Off Your Computer
First, check to see if Marketscore is on your computer. Search for ossproxy.exe
and nscheck.exe. If you find either of these files, use the removal instructions
in the next section, "What to Do if Marketscore Is on Your Computer."
Then, use these safe computing tips to keep Marketscore off your computer:
- Don't sign up for Marketscore. Many people knowingly install Marketscore
because they think it will speed up their Internet access.
- Be cautious when you download games, screensavers, Internet accelerators,
or when you download or use peer-to-peer file-sharing programs. Many
of these programs come with Marketscore and other "third-party"
software included. 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.
- Open the following Web page in a browser. It will tell you whether
or not Marketscore is installed on the computer you are using:
- Install or upgrade to McAfee VirusScan 8 to remove Marketscore from
a Windows 2000 or XP computer. The U-M license agreement provides this
software at no cost to members of the U-M community. You can download
VirusScan 8 from the U-M
Virus Busters Web site.
- Install an antispyware and an antiadware program:
What to Do if Marketscore Is on Your Computer
Use one of the following methods to remove Marketscore if it is already
installed on your computer:
- Install Spybot-Search
& Destroy software. It can detect and remove Marketscore software.
- If you have installed McAfee VirusScan version 8, you can go to the
Web site and use the instructions on how to use VirusScan 8 to remove
- Follow these steps to use Windows 'Add or Remove Programs,' to remove
- Click Start, select Settings, and open the Control
- Double-click Add or Remove Programs.
- Locate the Marketscore installation, highlight it, and click Change
- Use the instructions
provided by Columbia University to manually remove Marketscore.
Important! After you remove Marketscore, be sure to:
- Change all passwords that you use to access services or accounts.
Tips on choosing
a safe password.
- Check U-M's Identity Web
to learn how you can protect your identity.
- Use the safe computing tips in the preceding section, "How to
Keep Marketscore Off Your Computer," to keep Marketscore off your
U-M's Response to the Marketscore Issue
U-M is circulating information in the U-M community to increase awareness
of Marketscore issues. U-M is also providing resources to aid in keeping
Marketscore off both personal and University-owned computers, or to remove
it if it is already installed.
If you use a University computer and only your system administrator can
install software on it, it is probably not endangered. If you own the
computer you use or if you can install software on the U-M computer you
use, follow the recommendations in the previous section, "How to
Keep Marketscore Off Your Computer," to ensure that your computer
is protected from Marketscore and other malicious spyware and adware.
U-M's response to Marketscore includes a proactive approach to protect
members of the U-M community and University data. Actions include blocking
Internet access on computers that have Marketscore software installed.
This block was implemented on February 21, 2005. If you use a computer
with Marketscore installed, this action disrupts your Internet activity
- If you connect to the Internet through a U-M network, you will not
have access to any Internet resources. Your browser window will display
a page that explains that your computer is infected with Marketscore
and how you can remove it.
- If you connect to the Internet through another network provider, you
will not have access to any U-M Internet resources. Your browser window
will display the standard "Page not found" information.
Schedule for Blocking Internet Access
on Computers With Marketscore Installed
U-M 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 Safe Computing information about Marketscore,
the following U-M resources are available to help U-M students, faculty,
More Information About Marketscore and Related Problems
Other Marketscore Information
Other Universities' Marketscore Sites