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Free browser linking to porn

Not a privacy-protection tool

Panda software has warned that a free browser that claims to be a tool for protecting users' privacy is in fact linking to pornographic websites.

Browsezilla claims to help surfers cover their tracks when visiting pornographic sites. It does not use browser history or save data to a cache, and it allows users to save their bookmarks on a remote server, according to the product's website.

However, Browsezilla also secretly installs adware that boosts the page view counts on certain pornographic sites, said JJ Schoch, director of marketing with Panda. "It's being used deceptively to get more hits on their site," Schoch said. "This adware opens a series of adult web pages, although they are not visible to the user."

The antivirus vendor issued a press release on Friday warning of the browser, after noticing that Browsezilla was becoming more widely used. The browser is being used in a number of countries, but it appears to be most popular in Italy, he said.

Schoch said this is the first browser he has seen that downloads this type of click-generating software.

Panda is drawing attention to the matter because it believes the browser's creators are acting in a deceptive manner that ultimately could harm unsuspecting users, he said. "It's not going to wreck your computer, but it could taint somebody's reputation," he said.

Users might already be wary of the software, even without Panda's warning. The Browsezilla download page features an 'Adult links' section with hardcore pornographic images, a rarity in browser download sites.

The Browsezilla team called Panda's allegations 'unsubstantiated,' on the Browsezilla website, but they shed little light on the situation when asked for further comment on Panda's press release.

"Thanks for references. There the full delirium is written. Yes, Browsezilla has unchangeable starting page on which there is an advertising [sic]. It is More than anything. We shall contact manufacturers antivirus ON for finding-out," the browser-maker said in an email.


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