Uniblue Offering Rogue Software?

by on 01/13/2010 in Fake Antivirus, Security

An email from Uniblue to a colleague offering payment for placing a Uniblue link on his site has prompted me to come out of lurk mode and resurrect the Uniblue discussion.

This has been discussed before . . . if you do a search on “Uniblue” here on WOT, you’ll get 8 hits.

Uniblue has a yellow rating, but it is, and has been, a controversial item. Some swear by it, and yet others (myself included) think it’s nothing but a scam. (And I’ll detail why I have that opinion in a bit).

It is a particularly devious scam, IMO, because Uniblue leverages their “process library”, a legit product, to appear as a legit site . . . while at the same time promoting their rogue products.

I evaluated “RegistryBooster“, a Uniblue product, and a prime example, IMO, of the rogues they offer.
“RegistryBooster” is a registry cleaner.

First of all, when you click on the Uniblue “Products” tab, you get redirected to “liutilities.com”, another yellow rated site and this is actually a Uniblue site:

Now here’s the rogue part. Running RegistryBooster, I got 556 errors and a progress bar that indicates these errors as a “high Damage level”. Without getting into the virtues, or lack thereof, of registry cleaners, the “high Damage level” warning implies that these things are NOT trivial (“trivial” being things like orphaned DLL’s and missing help files . . . which is pretty common but not a show stopper):

When a user who is green sees something like “high Damage level”, they’re inclined to think this is disastrous (never mind that if your registry actually had that many serious errors, the machine probably wouldn’t even boot) and purchase the retail version of RegistryBooster to remove those (dubious) errors:

Hence my opinion that “RegistryBooster” is scareware and a rogue. (And RegistryBooster is “from Uniblue”, as the above screenshot shows).

I’ve not dug into the pedigree of Uniblue (such as blacklists, whois info, and robtex . . . and my suspicion is that all of that would be “clean”), but rather just run “RegistryBooster” (in my Windows VM within Ubuntu) to satisfy myself that Uniblue does indeed promote scams/rogues. I might not have such a poor opinion of Uniblue if it weren’t for that “high Damage level” indication in “RegistryBooster”. But then how else are they going to convince you that you should pay for removal instead of using a free registry cleaner like CCleaner?

5 Responses to “Uniblue Offering Rogue Software?”

  1. Brian

    Jan 13th, 2010

    I’ve always been suspicious of the UniBlue products. I see them all the time through affiliate ads which are found on so many websites I visit.

    I also noticed that their “awards” are just images with no links whatsoever to the proof. On the very popular RegistryBooster landing page with a bunch of buttons to “Free Instant Scan” and Microsoft Gold Certified” images, the sidebar says “CNET Editor’s Choice” and “5 Star User Rating on CNET”.

    I decided to do some investigation with these “awards”. On CNET, the Editors gave RegistryBooster 4 stars and I don’t see Editor’s Choice anywhere (for RegistryBooster or any Uniblue product). In addition, the user rating is 3 stars, not 5.

    UniBlue has an interesting Process Library which does have some useful information, and of course, at least 10 links (“Click here to scan for errors”) to downloading one of their products for a “Free Scan” on every page.

    I’ll be sticking with CCleaner!

    • Frank Jovine

      Jan 13th, 2010

      Brian,

      I am guessing that proof is in the pudding by what Bob has found in his research. Thank you for the comment and I appreciate your findings as well.

  2. JK@techtrickz

    Jan 14th, 2010

    This is of course a great news. What about their other products?. Some big software portals like softpedia offering one of their product free of cost.
    And also, I noticed that many ‘big’ sites and blogs are promoting their products via ads.
    Most interestingly, on visiting such sites my Nod 32 antivirus blocked the above said url Р“liutilities.com.
    I informed about this to a few blog owners and responded, but I can still see the ads on their site with few changes in the url?.

    • Frank Jovine

      Jan 14th, 2010

      It sad when you see a company disguise a rogue product around their legitimate products.

  3. Colin

    Jan 14th, 2010

    Hi Guys :)

    I wholeheartedly agree with what BJ has said. I have been propositioned by Uniblue in the past along with Pareto and PC Tools (now owned by Symantec)

    I have downloaded Uniblues offerings – if you can call them that – and to me they are nothing more than ‘scareware’. As with many rogue applications that are not malicious as such, for the novice user, the ‘scare’ tactic persuades them to buy a program which will cause further damage to a computer. It does NOT solve the problems as it finds non-existent problems and throws in several genuine and necessary Reg Keys for deletion, then the real problems start.

    Any savvy user would know this simply by running the program, but these are aimed at the not so savvy novices, they come from reputable download sites and have thousands of affiliates pushing this junk.

    I have always been very wary of any form of Registry Cleaner, and that includes CCleaner’s Reg Tool as it disabled Paint Shop Pro and a few other genuine apps. As a cleaner, CCleaner is great, for reg cleaning I would only use Auslogics and Windows OneCare.

    The benefit is that both are free and both allow items to be restored, they are not sold by thousands of affiliates looking to make a few bucks, whereas Uniblue products are. It’s also scary that more and more rogue programs are being listed on the major download sites, it’s no wonder that users get infected so easily or encounter serious problems.

    These sites are supposed to be trustworthy and many ‘guarantee’ their downloads are malware and virus free, but I have also found many that aren’t and they are quite happy to add scareware program without testing them as download sites are also affiliates for the products.

    Uniblue – rogue, plain and simple and I stand by that. They don’t like me, I don’t like them…no problem lol

    Apologies for my absence, between health problems and then my host suspending my account I have been pretty busy moving to a new host but the backups were all corrupt, so having to open xml files and go through them lol….such joy hahahaha