BDE Stealth Software Might
Be Hiding In Your Computer

Do you download from the Internet?
Then you may be infected by BDE...

By Rachel Ross
Technology Columnist
Toronto Star

I had no idea it was lurking on my home computer.
I feel so ... violated.
It was there all along, and like millions of other people around the world, I never knew.
Its name is BDE. Its mission: to take over my computer and do some businessman's corporate bidding.
BDE stands for Brilliant Digital Entertainment, a California company that makes software for 3-D computer ads. The company also makes software that creates a kind of secret peer-to-peer network.
So secret, in fact, that many members of the network are probably unaware of its existence.
This is the BDE software that I found on my hard drive this week.
How did it happen?
About a month ago, my husband downloaded file-swapping software called Kazaa. Like Napster, Kazaa is basically used to trade music and movie files.
Brilliant's software piggybacks on Kazaa.
Since Brilliant enjoys a business relationship with Kazaa, you can't download Kazaa without it.
According to published reports, Kazaa has been downloaded 20 million times since the BDE software was introduced.
So far, the software has sat dormant on hard drives around the world.
But it's only a matter of time before Brilliant turns on that network and your computer becomes it's doting slave.
Brilliant plans to sell each computer's unused processing power, Internet bandwidth and storage to other companies. The connection will be viable as long as your computer is on and connected to the Internet (if you have a broadband connection to the Web, that means always).
While you're at work, your computer could be serving up ads on other people's Web sites, for example.
The company calls this brilliant idea Altnet.
I can think of some other unpublishable names.
We've seen other versions of this kind of distributed computing, but normally the end goals of the network are a little more altruistic.
The Seti@Home network seaches for signs of extraterrestrial life. Others use excess processing power on personal computers to find cures for various diseases. And normally, people are well aware that they are installing and running the networkís software.
Brilliant's management insists users will be asked if they want to participate.
But this is coming from the company who stealthily got their software on to my computer without my noticing in the first place.
If you carefully read the installation instructions, it does mention the software from Brilliant.
And the End User agreement goes on, ad nauseam, about the terms of using Brilliant's software. Itís in the middle of a ridiculously long text file. You might want to read it though, since it does get interesting.
Apparently, 'BDE reserves the right to change or modify any of the terms and conditions of this agreement and any of the policies governing the services at any time in its sole discretion. Your continued use of the software following BDE's changes will constitute your acceptance of such changes.'
So, if you do decide to keep the software, you better keep your eyes peeled for any subtle changes. They could be renting out your living room when you're not using it next.
The BDE software is hard to get rid of, too. My husband deleted Kazaa software, after he decided he like another file swapping program called BearShare better. But that didn't get rid of BDE.
On my Windows XP machine, the files didn't even appear on my list of programs to add or remove. I had to search my hard drive for any files called BDE, then delete the folder. (Note: Borland Database Engine files are also called BDE, so tread carefully)
There are also a few other suspicious files in my computer that I believe are part of the company's less than brilliant endeavour to keep track of my system.
The detailed, techie explanation of scouring BDE from your hard drive can be found at
The whole thing is so creepy, it makes me want scan my whole machine manually and take a long, hot shower.
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From Concerned User
Hey Jeff, I was reading the letter that was posted on your site about the spyware piggy-backing KaZaA. I know a little bit of information that may help some of the readers or for people who'd like to know how the hell to get this invasion of privacy off their system. Below, are a few links that will help make the pain-steaking process a little easier. Hope this is of some help. - The article described about how to manually remove BDE's software. - A new altered version of KaZaA that someone has created, and taken out the BDE software, Cydoor, which also comes with KaZaA, and that stupid Bonzi Buddy. - This page has a program that takes all the BDE software off your system for you with the press of a button. It also includes Ad-Aware, a program that takes ALL known Sypware off of your system.
Hope this helped.
Concerned User
From Glen Warner
Jeff --
That KaZaa article makes me glad I have a Mac ....!
My ex-girlfriend downloaded Bonzi Buddy (and learned quickly to hate it), and her daughter is a big KaZaa fan. Despite my misgivings (I told her to get a Mac in the first place), I did the right thing and sent her the URL to that article. Hopefully, she hasn't filtered me .... but, if she did, well, she did buy a Dell despite my recommendations, so .... :o)

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