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Old 03-04-2011, 01:28 PM   #1
estral
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[deleted], is it safe?

Hey all!

Found a site called [deleted]. Seems to have a lot of free downloads.

Has anynone used this site, is it safe?

TIA

Uncle Eric

Last edited by HarryT; 08-06-2012 at 03:53 AM.
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Old 03-04-2011, 01:49 PM   #2
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I'd stay far, far, far away if I were you. It's registered to someone with a phony email address (first warning), it offers books that are not in the public domain for free (second warning), and when you click to download, it downloads an .exe file (third warning!). I didn't actually download the .exe file to see what it was, but I imagine it installs a virus or spyware on your computer. There's no reason to package an ebook file inside an .exe, and never, ever download an .exe unless you know exactly what you're getting!

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Old 03-04-2011, 06:58 PM   #3
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Never, ever, ever trust strange .exe files. Never. I might snag that later from a safe system and hit it with some malware checkers to see what we've got there, but running it? Not on your life.

And never trust a supposed business that uses any form of concealed domain name registration. If they have something to hide ... well, they have something to hide. There is no reason to register a domain via "privacy-protect.cn" unless there's some reason you want your business name and contact info to remain secret. What business wants everything about it to stay a secret? Real businesses spend millions of dollars for exactly the opposite.

Then there's the whole matter of them claiming to offer free books that are only available as DRM-locked books from legitimate bookstores. As much as I'd like to see DRM go away, giving away free pirated ebooks isn't the way to do it.

I would not touch it in a box. I would not touch it with a fox.
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Old 03-04-2011, 07:15 PM   #4
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I took a look and from all appearances it's sufficiently far from safe that I'd feel safer surfing any torrent site at random on a Windows 98 machine with no virus scanner than I would opening a "book" from that site.

Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:35 AM   #5
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As I posted here a few days ago, I don't believe for a second that this website is legal - it has titles such as To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye - so I have passed the information on to relevant publishers.
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Old 03-05-2011, 11:55 AM   #6
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So I downloaded one of them just for the heck of it. I picked a plain text file of Breakfast at Tiffany's. It was a 1.23 MB file named "Breakfast at Tiffanys .txt.exe". An AVG scan of the file didn't notice anything. It is a self-extracting archive. Opening it in Winrar, I found that it contained 4 files:

hstart.exe 44,040 bytes
setup.exe 1,267,733 bytes
start.bat 91 bytes
start.umf 350 bytes.

The comment in the file is:

[deleted]

Anyone have a sandbox they could try one of these in?

Last edited by HarryT; 08-06-2012 at 03:54 AM.
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:07 PM   #7
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Did a quick search on umf and got:

Universal Message Format (UMF)
Universal Message Format (UMF) is an extensible XML dialect used for structuring data source files. UMF contains standard tags that represent key pieces of identities, relationships, and activities. Before data can be processed by the pipelines, it must be converted into UMF and follow the UMF specification.

UMF consists of these hierarchical components:
UMF documents
The collection of UMF segments that structure the data and indicate the type of data source record.
UMF segments
The part of the UMF document that structures the data for the data source.
UMF elements
XML tags and values that define the data within a UMF segment of a UMF document.
The UMF specification lists the specific types of UMF documents, the UMF segments within each UMF document type, and the valid UMF elements within each UMF segment.

Looks like another attempt at a universal format and it's associated with IBM as far as I could find... of course all this is absolutely no way of predicting the safety of this site and its content and, being naturally paranoid, not knowing means stay away from...
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Old 03-05-2011, 12:10 PM   #8
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I installed the program for the heck of it. It doesn't seem to be malicious beyond the fact that I can't seem to get it to work. It just directs me to a site to pay for a key as apparently this key it uses has expired.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:37 PM   #9
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[deleted]

Last edited by HarryT; 08-06-2012 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:59 AM   #10
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I admire the thoroughness of the members. Though shall not pirate or consort with pirates should be a given. Thanks for this.
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlmwrite View Post

Let's see... Russian terms of service. Protected by a Chinese domain that is registered from France. "Book" downloads that come with an .exe extension that install and direct you to another website.

I may be just a tiny bit jaded, but somehow I think this might not be entirely legitimate... :-)
Sounds very "global" to me!
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:54 PM   #12
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Earlier today I was looking through my "free book sites" bookmarks and came across this site. As soon as I clicked the bookmark, my virus etc protection started screaming at me and flashing "malicious url" messages on the pc screen. It automatically disabled the url.

So, yes, I can only assume this site is undesirable!!
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Old 08-14-2011, 12:37 PM   #13
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In case anyone is still interested in [deleted] it might be useful to know that someone on the site or connected with it is using other people's names to upload eBooks to the site. At least, they did so with mine (apparently lifting it wholesale from Amazon reviews), and I don't see whom to contact to change this.

Last edited by HarryT; 08-06-2012 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 08-14-2011, 12:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seagull View Post
I installed the program for the heck of it. It doesn't seem to be malicious beyond the fact that I can't seem to get it to work. It just directs me to a site to pay for a key as apparently this key it uses has expired.
Sounds like a phishing scam to gather credit card details.

You have to wonder how many people actually fall for these: must be enough to make it worth people's while paying to host the site, designing the software, going to the trouble to upload all that media (that they don't own).

Is it ad-supported as well, by any chance?
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Old 08-14-2011, 02:56 PM   #15
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You have to wonder how many people actually fall for these
"Oh, wow. These books are free? Sweet! This one costs about $12 on Amazon. Oh, just need to put in my...credit...card number? Ah, no worries. *click-clack-click-clack* sweet! Free book!"
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