Security Alert from Information Technology Services

03/06/2005

Contributed by Michael Taves

Beware the dangers of using Marketscore.

A company called ComScore Networks produces an application called Marketscore, which is advertised to enhance Internet connection speeds but is primarily an Internet-usage monitoring program that collects, analyzes, and stores everything you send to, and receive from, any website.

This monitored information can include username and password combinations, personal financial information (bank account numbers, credit card numbers, etc.), and purchasing activity. It does this by redirecting all your Internet traffic to and from other sites through their servers; it can even pick up and unencrypt secure transaction data.

In an effort to balance the need for access to our systems with our responsibility to protect confidential data, the College has decided to take the following steps when we detect that computers with Marketscore installed on them are trying to reach systems on our network.

1) Institutionally owned computers with Marketscore installed will be detected and blocked from any access to the Internet, until such time that ITS technicians are dispatched to restore the computer to its proper state.
2) Computers from elsewhere on the Internet with Marketscore installed, including student computers in our residence halls, will only be allowed access to our public web server and applications related to the student information system (online admissions applications and self-service student information services). They will be blocked from all other servers (e.g. WebCT, Corporate Time, ICMail, Parnassus) and their request will be redirected to a page that explains the block and what they need to do to remove Marketscore from their computer. This page can be seen at www.ithaca.edu/computing/marketscore.

While ComScore claims that it does not reveal personally identifying or confidential information, ITS nevertheless strongly advises that you do not use Marketscore.

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