Is Browzar Just An Adware Machine?

Earlier this week the big story was the launch of a new “safe” browser called Browzar, which InfoWorld called “the latest entrant to the crowded Internet browser market”.

Browzar promises to make web surfing more anonymous by disabling cookies, history, auto-complete, etc. The story was widely circulated, including writeups on BBC, CNET, Slashdot and Digg, among others. We even wrote about it on TechCrunch UK.

There were initial doubts raised that this was simply a stripped down version of IE with the offending functionaltiy turned off, and therefore nothing special. But none of the publications above did enough research into the product to realize that not only is Browzar not really an interesting product from a security point of view, but that the “browser” is going to great lengths to force users to click on Overture ads by constantly redirecting them to search ad pages served by Browzar itself.

Today Web3.0log went to that additional effort to actually test the product, and wrote a post called “New Secure Browser Browzar is Fake and Full of Adware” where they proceeded to rip the product apart on a feature by feature basis.

Contrary to earlier coverage, Browzar appears to be nothing but a simple shell to IE which forces Overture ads on its own users. The creators didn’t write a cache or history function, calling this a feature, and users are unable to change the search function or home page to anything other than Browzar ad results. Furthermore, some users are complaining that URL auto-complete is not working properly and also redirects to the Browzar home page, with ads, when it shouldn’t.

Wev2.0log concludes by saying “There was time when badware developers tried to install ad pages as homepage or searchpage in user’s IE by any possible means. Nowadays users install adware voluntarily and write news about it. True web2.0 style!”

Make your own decision on Browzar if you like, just make sure you know what it is you are downloading before you pull the trigger.