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Yahoo's Anti-Spy toolbar feature buggy

Web portal admits error in newly released product billed as protection against invasive online marketers.

Tech Industry
Yahoo on Friday confirmed that its recently released toolbar has mistakenly linked an alleged spyware program with a product that has nothing to do with the application in question.

A company representative said late Friday that its toolbar's Anti-Spy feature incorrectly identified alleged "hijacker" software known as SearchCentrix as being bundled with Claria's Gator eWallet product, which is designed to manage usernames and passwords. Hijacking programs redirect search results or tamper with browser settings, according to Yahoo.

"The SearchCentrix hijacker was incorrectly identified by our application" as a component of Claria's eWallet software, a Yahoo representative said. "We have no evidence to believe that Claria's eWallet installs that software. We believe that the misidentification was due to a bug in code from our partner, PestPatrol, and are currently working with them to fix it."

A Claria representative said the company has no relationship with SearchCentrix and that the listing was a mistake.

PestPatrol could not immediately be reached for comment.

Yahoo began testing Anti-Spy earlier this year in partnership with PestPatrol and released a public version of the product this week. Anti-Spy is billed as a Web browser toolbar feature that helps consumers detect surveillance software installed on their PCs.

In a test of the toolbar's Anti-Spy feature by CNET News.com, the software correctly identified several programs installed with eWallet as adware--other Claria products--but incorrectly identified Claria computer code as that of SearchCentrix.

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