Old 20th July 2007, 23:16   #1
ahmird2
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Is WinAmp Spying on Us?

My firewall reports WinAmp attempting to monitor user activity quite often. This occurs usually when I select something in the menu bar but also at intervals of about every ten or fifteen minutes no matter what I am doing. Immediately after doing this it attempts to connect to the internet every time, weather it was allowed to monitor user activity or not. Not allowing it to monitor user activity seems to have no effect on the normal operation of the program other than the firewall automatically blocking WinAmp from accessing the internet (even though I have the firewall set to allow WinAmp internet access) so this leads me to believe that WinAmp is in fact trying to monitor user activity even though I have it set to NOT report anonymous usage statistics. The only effect denying WinAmp monitoring user activity is that it interferes momentarily with streaming media and the loading of online service pages in the media library (such as ShoutCast) as if the firewall is recognizing and intercepting a specific packet WinAmp is trying to send (which is just a minor annoyance). As I stated, my firewall is set to allow WinAmp access to the internet yet it insists on blocking the very next attempt of WinAmp to access the internet after denying it permission to monitor user activity. You can see where I'm going with this and what the evidence suggests (see pics below) but as I do not know a whole lot about networking and such, nor have I been able to isolate or view the data the firewall is blocking WinAmp from sending to the internet I am interested in any and all qualified explanations of this.



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Old 20th July 2007, 23:38   #2
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You can uncheck the option for reporting anonymous usage statistics during install and in preferences.
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Old 21st July 2007, 17:46   #3
ahmird2
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As I said I've had that unchecked the whole time.
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Old 21st July 2007, 18:47   #4
MasterViVi
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How about "check for updates"?
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Old 21st July 2007, 19:04   #5
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with the first issue, if it's only happening when you open one of the menus (i'm going to guess that you're using the modern skin since you've provided no system/winamp information in your post) and it is due to the skinning engine and how it has to handle the skinned menu parts (makes use of SetWindowsHookEx(..) very breifly whilst the menus are shown so that they will work and can exit correctly) - this is just ZA being over cautious and with legitimate coding it's very easy to cause ZA to flag up that issue. if only they could fix their handling of such things to save winamp having to have nscrt.dll duplicated in the root and plugins folder since it will cause failed load errors when ZA is doing it's checks for the first issue that you're experiencing.

-daz
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Old 21st July 2007, 19:10   #6
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Old 23rd July 2007, 00:07   #7
ahmird2
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Thank you all for the help.
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Old 23rd July 2007, 11:13   #8
CraigF
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Quote:
Originally posted by DrO
with the first issue, if it's only happening when you open one of the menus (i'm going to guess that you're using the modern skin since you've provided no system/winamp information in your post) and it is due to the skinning engine and how it has to handle the skinned menu parts (makes use of SetWindowsHookEx(..) very breifly whilst the menus are shown so that they will work and can exit correctly) - this is just ZA being over cautious and with legitimate coding it's very easy to cause ZA to flag up that issue. if only they could fix their handling of such things to save winamp having to have nscrt.dll duplicated in the root and plugins folder since it will cause failed load errors when ZA is doing it's checks for the first issue that you're experiencing.

-daz
Ah-hah, was wondering if they were watching for some strange window message. seems overzealous to report things as spyware for using perfectly valid windows api's. I mean, at least check the apps that report it and update the definitions no?

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Old 23rd July 2007, 13:21   #9
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aye, though windows hooks can be very easily abused so i guess it's them just being over zealous in reporting back to the user though a lot seems to depend on the type of hook instigated in that it only flags up on mouse/keyboard ones rather than others (which from my experience can cause a lot more of an issue to a user than just key/action logging).

but yeah, would be nice if there was some sort of known usage list they have to avoid this mis-report but then i guess something like from their end could be open to mis-abuse.

the main thing i've against ZA is the way they process the loading of the hook event and hence the need for the duplication of nscrt.dll (all i can presume is they're loading the dll in some strange way which messes up the expected dll path dependancy).

-daz
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