AIM Users Beware

If you use AOL instant messenger, it has probably installed a program called wildtangent on your system. This is an online gaming plugin. According to the company that makes it, it’s not doing anything pernicious. But says it that will share your name, address, phone number and email address (if it can get them, presumably from your AOL profile) and track your software product usage. They also tell you how to uninstall it.

What’s interesting is that AOL didn’t modify their EULA to cover the inclusion of wildtangent until after they began distributing it with AIM. So even if you actually bothered to read the fine print, you wouldn’t have known about it.

I discovered wildtangent installing itself on my system when my spybot system monitor caught it trying to make changes to my system registry. I’ve been refusing my AIM client’s recent attempts to upgrade itself, but that apparently doesn’t stop the wildtangent installation from happening. If you’re using Windows, I highly recommend spybot – you can download it for free.

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