Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SOFTWARE: Beware the Graugon

I've never heard of Graugon Software. Well, not until a few days ago. Now, I wish the company ill. Say, a venereal disease ill. Something long-lasting and painful. Not life threatening. Just a reminder that karma's a bitch.

I have had some issues with double-clicking on HTM and HTML files of late. Something else (not Graugon-related) got in there and mulched my file associations. Soooo, I found Extension Manager for download and decided to give it a whirl. Didn't mention the company behind it. But the purpose was very specific and I didn't think I could hurt anything too badly. PLUS I had backups. AND I had the full-blown Zone Alarm Internet Security Suite rocking the computer in extreme mode.

What could go wrong?

Initially, nothing. It fixed the associations I tried it with. Just what a little free utility is supposed to do. But I kept finding a Graugon page up and running, every time I ran Firefox. Now, I leave Firefox up and running for days at an end and don't restart all that often. So I didn't really notice Graugon had decided I needed a new start up page. But, I tried a bunch of new add-ins over the last 24 hours and that's when I found Graugon had snuck behind my back and made it my new start page. Without changing the start page listed in Firefox's options, which is sneaky at best, nasty at worst. Zone Alarm and NoScript DID prevent the page from running whatever scripts are on the page. Maybe it's a real malware site, maybe it's just a case of them wanting their pound of screen time for offering up the free program. And undoubtedly, I OK'd this pernicious misuse of my Firefox program somewhere deep within the bowels of their licensing agreement I tacitly agreed to, while pressing NEXT.

But, now that I knew that the slow start to Firefox was the result of this scumware, I got rid of it. I ran REVO Uninstaller, which got the program and most of the registry references. I needed to run Registery Workshop and clear out the last three references to this PITA. It bit back though. When I ran Firefox, it crashed into the debugger. Which is Delphi's debugger, meaning the whole programming environment I have, had to load, which took three minutes ... just to have me close it down immediately.

Eventually, I had to re-install Firefox 3.51 to get it to work again. Which it now does, free of the last contaminating bits of Graugon crapware. In addition to the Extension Manager utility, I understand Graugon also offers a anti-virus/firewall program. You couldn't pay me enough money to even look at the web-page for the 'security' suite. Once burnt, twice shy, I guess.

Now that I think about it, maybe a sexual disease would be too good for the #$(*U#@$ who futzed up my computer. I'll leave it to your imagination as to what I'd REALLY like to happen to the whole lot of them.

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