Monday, February 11, 2008

Beware of RealPlayer

RealPlayer Installs Badware

According to, the latest version of RealPlayer is tricking the users installing, once with it, the Rhapsody Player Engine required to access RealNetwork's online music service. The problem appears when Rhapsody Player Engine can’t be removed, even if you uninstall the RealPlayer.
[adsense]In a report, Maxim Weinstein, StopBadware's manager, stated that users are not aware of this installation and the computer's hard-drive space or processing power are used, or, a security risk is present due to the possible bugs from Rhapsody.

Badware has become synonym with RealPlayer 11 and the older RealPlayer 10.5 software.

When downloading Real Player 10.5, users, if not completing the RealNetworks product registration page, receive Message Center, a way to get ads or, as Weinstein said, "a piece of adware".

Ryan Luckin, RealNetworks spokesman, confirmed it, but added that a check box announces the users about the installation of Message Center.

The problem was solved in the RealPlayer 11 case, but the 10.5 version is downloaded via the Firefox browser's "Missing Plug-in" feature.

StopBadware advises the customers to avoid downloading this player, especially after Luckin declared it "an oversight".

Many users regarded RealPlayer as a substitute for QuickTime and Microsoft's Windows Media Player. But, in 1999, the computer security consultant Richard Smith, noticed that the RealNetworks servers obtained information through the Message Center software.

Though RealPlayer also runs on Mac OS X and Linux, StopBadware, it is working only for the Windows versions of RealPlayer's software.

In order to protect the costumers, Google, Lenovo, and Sun Microsystems sustains StopBadware with funding.

Weinstein advised Real Networks to solve not only the RealPlayer 10.5's Message Center problem because "It's hard to say that one is worse".


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