2005/01/23

eXeem. Tried it. Removed it.

Well, eXeem went into public beta a few days back. (Thanks for letting me know, arsi.)

I installed it, along with its happy little spyware buddy, Cydoor.

One nice thing is that eXeem reports download speeds far above any other P2P app I've ever used.

One bad thing is it was either lying about those speeds or just plain wrong. My other network software told me it wasn't doing anything any faster than BitComet would. That same software agrees with everything else I run except eXeem.

One nice thing is that you can use it to search a "decentralized network" for files to download.

One bad thing is that, according to my firewall logs, you're no more anonymous on this decentralized network than you are with any other P2P software. I've got a list of every IP address contacted during the search, and every IP address I swapped files with (Knoppix, if you're curious). Each of those computers, if they keep logs, also has my IP address. Hi, MPAA! How ya doin'? The phrase "decentralized network" sounds good, but if you're thinking it means "anonymous" you're wrong.

One nice thing is that it can generate a list of new files added to the network in the last however-many-hours.

One bad thing is that this list means nothing. Clicking on a filename doesn't get me the file. It tells me it's out there, but not how to get it. I imagine that's either an issue on my end or something that'll be fixed as the software evolves past Beta, but right now it's just a feature that takes too long to tell me what I could have downloaded if only, uh... if only.

It seemed stable enough, especially for Beta software. I probably could have figured out the New Files thing eventually, but by that point I'd stopped caring.

I briefly considered different ways to cut Cydoor off at the nads while keeping eXeem working. I briefly considered installing eXeem Lite (which strips away the spyware) until I went to its page and saw that it's being slapped together by some knob in his basement who I trust about as much as I trust the Cydoor folks themselves. Maybe that person is respected in the file sharing community. Beats me. Never heard of him. And that wouldn't mean squat, anyway. Respected among thieves. Wow.

Then I took another look at my firewall's logs. I'd allowed eXeem (and Cydoor) privileged status to pass whatever the hell it wanted to pass between my PC and the Net while I had it installed. Why not? I'd done a backup of everything important only a day ago. The most anyone will learn about me through whatever they find on my PC is that I write psychic crap for a living. I don't have a credit card, and the most secret information on my machine is my library card number. Oh no! Don't steal my identity and rack up killer late fees!

Anyway, looking through my logs showed that, along with eleven standard BitTorrent ports, it opened over 500 ports all over my system.

I understand it's got to talk to other computers to swap data. It's got to search using different ports. And because it's "more than a BitTorrent client" it'll use still more ports. But 500 different ports scattered all the way from 1026 to 65042? That's nuts. I've seen no documentation telling me what it's doing on all those ports. And even if there are docs out there somewhere, it's documentation of
a) closed-source software which is
b) developed by a new company that partners itself with a known malware vendor and
c) fronted by a Slovenian highschool student known only as "Sloncek" who
d) is for some reason granted God Status because he ran a site that made the MPAA mad at him. (So what?)

Give me a break. No thanks.

I uninstalled eXeem after two hours and swept my PC for spyware. Cydoor wasn't removed with eXeem (surprise) so I deleted it. Then I deleted the cache files that Cydoor left behind which both Ad-Aware and Spybot somehow missed. I don't remember the name of the directory. C:\Windows\System\CACHE600 or something like that. Look for the banner ads and javascript files. Or use Windows' find tool and search for "Cydoor." You'll find it.

Speaking of Cydoor, aside from installing itself secretly it did seem fairly well behaved. It didn't pop up ads when eXeem was closed. It didn't send all my web requests through a proxy. It didn't hijack Internet Explorer (er, now that I think about it, maybe it did. I really ought to open up IE some day). It didn't take it upon itself to download and run executables without my knowledge. However, Cydoor can and has done ALL of those things to others. I have no desire to keep something like that on my system, hoping it will continue to play nice. "I promise, baby. I'll change! I promise!" Bullshit. Even Mr. highschool boy's assurances that it'll be fine, just fine, don't bring me much comfort.

eXeem seems like nothing more than a slightly better Kazaa to me. One that's getting a lot of press because of that kid from Slovenia.

But I can get the files I want just as easily (and just as "anonymously," har, har) via other methods without handing my keys over to Cydoor, Sloncek and whoever else they play with.

Oh. News flash: Loki Torrent has banned eXeem from their site as of 01/23.
Comments:
Thanks for the info looty. You sure do come in handy. If I ever win the lottery, can I hire you as my personal computer guru? (It'll be a decent salary with housing expenses included.) :-)

-lette
 
Me too.

Removed.
 
If I ever win the lottery, can I hire you as my personal computer guru?If you ever win the lottery, you can hire me as your personal anything-you-want-ma'am.
 
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