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[Update] Skype installs EasyBits Go CrapWare on your systems without users’ prior knowledge

Posted by on 28/05/2011

It seems that Skype is automatically installing crapware called EasyBits Go without informing or asking users for installation permission.

This morning I was notified that Skype needed third-party access to an executable called easybitsgo.exe, and I was quite suspicious because I knew I had not installed in applications recently and saw no other dialog boxes with information about this app. I did a virus scan immediately thinking my system may have been over-ridden with malware similar to those fake anti-virus apps.

It turns out the program is legit and was actually installed via Skype itself. After doing a quick check , it seems the EasyBits company produces a number of game apps and is supported by many major brands including HP, Dell, Acer and Skype among others, however I did not give a care since I was not interested in having such program installed on my machine. Finally, after checking the Skype forums, it turns out many users reported a similar circumstance.

Can such a move be allowed? Not in my opinion at least. It violates our rights by installing programs without our prior knowledge. If I were clueless, I could have been setting up my computer and myself for disaster, because the program could have been a sniffing tool or used as part of a botnet (just giving worst case scenarios). For such a reputable company like Skype, it really is a shame that they went ahead with such a plan, and I do hope it was more of an accident than intentional.

If you would like to get rid of the installation:

  • Disable and remove 3rd party access to the easybitgo.exe file in Skype via Options > Advanced > Advanced Settings > Manage other programs’ access to Skype
  • Remove the Easybits Go program via the Install/Uninstall panel under your system’s control panel
  • Exit Skype and make sure the Skype.exe is not running in the list of running processes (via Task Manager). Also temporarily disable Skype from starting automatically when Windows starts.
  • Then restart  your computer since the program will still be is use by the system.
  • Once restarted, go to [Drive Letter]:ProgramData or [Drive Letter]:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication Data and permanently delete theEasybits GO folder.
  • Remove whatever shortcuts it may have placed in the start menu and desktop.
  • If you are confident enough to dig around in your registry, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftware and delete the entire EasyBits folder (thanks Christopher)
  • Go to the WindowsPrefetch directory and look for the file EASYBITSGO.EXE-364DAFD6.pf and delete it. Also do a search for ezPMUtils.dll and delete them all.
  • If you are on Windows 7, delete the go folder in this directory –  Users > [YOUR USERNAME] >AppData > Roaming (thanks Lesa)

We are hoping that Skype can make a formal announcement about the problem, to possibly explain why they allowed this to happen in the first place.

Update – Skype has acknowledged the situation but has yet to release a statement about what is going on.

Update #2 – Corrected info about affiliated brands.

Update #3 – Added more removal tips.

Update #4 [29th May 2011 – 7:24pm EST] – Skype finally responds:

All fears can be put to rest now regarding malware concerns.

It has come to our attention that concerns have been expressed from Skype users over the update delivered to Skype Extras for Windows by Easybits software.

The software is provided by our partner EasyBits, and is part of the Skype Extras Manager. The Extras Manager has been included in Windows releases of our software since 2006. This latest update from EasyBits included elements of their desktop games organizer in error, but it neither installs nor un-installs correctly. This update has been disabled while we work with them to correct the problems and user experience.

Skype works closely with its partners to ensure that our users receive the best possible Skype experience and is working with EasyBits to ensure this issue does not happen again.

Now we just hold on for another update regarding the official removal of the software.

Thanks Dlkfajdlfkjd.

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  • PaulaPF

    This thing completely messed up with the definitions of my keyboard. I restored the system to the day before and both the application and the problem with the keyboard disappeared. Do you know if restoring is enough?

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    I would still check that the files are removed completely off the system. It doesn’t seem to be malware but just a one time install on Skype’s behalf. Just uninstall and delete the folder as described in the instructions. I think the whole problem may be a glitch.

  • PaulaPF

    Yes, there is no trace of them in my system now. Thanks from the prompt reply

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    I am hoping that’s the end of it. Some users using NOD32 are reporting ‘infiltrations’, so maybe it could be a false positive but I am just waiting for official word from Skype.

  • Christopher

    Also, you should need to remove the program files manually and the crapware also has plenty of buggy registry entries under the user class…

  • Sbrideau

    Thanks for this, I thought Easybits was a virus, but I can see that it is not seeing as this was the first result in my google search (removing easybits go).

    That’s a shame to a company like this. Guess we can’t trust Skype anymore.

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    It seems the bulk of the install was in the ProgramData folder rather than the Program Files or Program Files (x86) folder. I checked my registry and it doesn’t seem to have any entries at the moment, but let me know if you find any other trace elements. BTW this after I uninstalled it and removed the content. Not sure what happens while it’s on.

  • Guest

    so its not a virus it is just crap

    skype trust lost

  • Lesa

    Thank you for this info, Bradley. I thought I caught a virus just now. I’m still removing this thing, and hope they don’t pull crap like this again.

  • Lesa

    For Windows 7, I found the folder to delete here:
    Local Disk (C:) > Users > {YOUR USERNAME} >AppData > Roaming > go

  • yt

    Thanks a lot for your help! ^^

  • Dlkfajdlfkjd

    i restarted my computer, but it seems the program has completely disappeared on me. im concerned now.  i have no programsdata folder anymore as i did b4 i restarted.. help?

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    Did you delete it before restarting? Maybe after uninstalling, a restart was needed to complete the removal process. Anyone else have such an experience?

  • Dlkfajdlfkjd

    i uninstalled (through the control panel) almost immediately after it happened (around midnight) and then i found this site a few minutes ago and started to follow these steps. but when i reset it just disappeared.

    is there any official word from skype yet? im really hoping this is just a foul up on their part and not an actual attack

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    Weird. I am not sure. In my opinion, it doesn’t seem to be much to worry about in terms of safety. Hopefully Skype will issue a statement within the next 24 hours.

  • Dlkfajdlfkjd

     im still worried about this whole thing, but i really appreciate your help. hope skype does something soon

  • http://www.favbrowser.com Vygantas Lipskas

    There was no such software installed on my PC. Always using custom install.

  • mbs

    Ahh yes, the joys of proprietary software.   Between this and Dropbox I gave up and headed over to fsf.org for some free software instead.  Good luck removing everything if you decide to stick with it.

  • mbs

    Ahh yes, the joys of proprietary software.   Between this and Dropbox I gave up and headed over to fsf.org for some free software instead.  Good luck removing everything if you decide to stick with it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Sjoeter Sjoerd van Gestel

    there was not such thing on my pc when i was typing this but now there is since i pressed on the update :S

  • Be C Kerb Ela+btechn

    I remember that Skype posted a bubble yesterday, asking me if I’m interested in playing games with my Skype contacts. There was an option that said “I will never be interested in such a thing”, which I clicked, and right now there is no trace of the EasyBits executable on my computer.
    I believe this article has its fair share of sensationalism. Microsoft handled the installation in a very acceptable and unobtrusive manner.

  • Hagrid’s Bone

    same thing happened to me – clicked the X tab on the skype popup and got an automatic install. I could not delete Easybits folders until I uninstalled Skype. Then ran an Avira antivirus scan and it identified a virus/unwanted program “TR/Vundo.11.20″ in the recycle bin where I the easybits deleted folders were. It is very disappointing that Skype hasn’t issued any comments/instructions to assist.

  • Hagrid’s Bone

    Also, not sure if this helps but I noticed that the files in prefetch and roaming directories were created at the same time, so did a search for files and folders created at that time and found a few more in the search directory and deleted them : skypem.exe-eeca8925.pf and 2011-05-29-1.ezlog

  • Anonymous

    I say, don’t use Skype anymore, or any other Microsoft software. Force them to make something proper first, to put effort in their software.

  • Ipodoa

    Thanks for this info. I was very irritated with Skype.

  • teainthesahara

    I clicked the red X and got an install. Sorry, but that is unacceptable. I then had to search forums for information and advice on how to uninstall. When I uninstall, the program tried to reinstall itself via Skype. This is underhanded behavior. Fortunately, I had disabled  3rd party access to the easybitgo.exe file in Skype as I found on this forum. If I had not done a Google search first, and found the advice here, I would still be going around in circles. When I get a message that might perhaps be malware, I always hit the red X, not any option inside the window, which could install, regardless of what it says. Now I find that even the red X can install. I’m glad that you hit “never be interested”, but I think we have a right to decline a response without prompting installation. On my end, there was nothing “acceptable and unobstusive” about it, since Microsoft/Skype did not await my go-ahead or make uninstall options clear, and included settings that would re-install after I had uninstalled.

  • teainthesahara

    If I have free software, can I chat with/call Skype users? That’s the rub. Anyway Skype is free, though it is proprietary, “for profit” software. 

  • http://twitter.com/markvtinfo Mark van Tilburg

    There is another folder/file missing here, it also makes a flash cookie in the localhost folder of your flash cookie base

    C:Users$YOUR USERNAME$AppDataRoamingMacromediaFlash Player#SharedObjects$FOLDERHERE DEPENDS ON YOUR SYSTEM$localhost

  • David

    Thanks for this…I also thought I had malware…
    Damn Skype, hate this kind of behavior, very unprofessional…

  • Mark McCorkell

    The Skype Extras Manager has been based on EasyBits since it was introduced years ago. It’s a useless resource hog, I just untick the option to install it during setup if it isn’t unticked already.

    I’ve not seen the behaviour you’ve mentioned. If they are still going ahead and installing this crap even after people have said No during installation then that’s a seriously bad move on their part.

  • http://eibx.myopenid.com/ Eibx

    Microsoft has nothing to do with Skype yet. Still two completely separate companies.

  • Ruiwui

    It’s not necessarily unmentioned and certainly not violating your rights, I’m sure they put something about it in the license agreement.
    You must have read that, it’s terribly important.

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    Thanks all for the additional info. Will add it to the list.

  • noone

    I just want to point out that all this Microsoft complaining is wasted seeing that Skype is not owned by Microsoft yet.
    Not until the sale is approved regulators.

  • snowbody

    Not acceptable! There is no excuse for installing crapware without prior consent.

  • Ralph

    No! … and that is the problem with all proprietary software that does not use open standards for interoperability.

    I’ve converted 2 companies (Already!) (admittedly only a few hundred employees in total) to SIP since Microsoft announced its aquisition of Skype.

    Ekiga (ekiga.org) has SIP clients for Windows, Linux & Mac. The conversion is relatively painless.

  • Serious Jorg

    this crapware just appeared on my PC as well …. i went to control panel …. hit uninstall ….. easybits go disappears automatically from the list ….. i went to the application data folder, IT IS STILL THERE !!!! is this a joke ?!i am uninstalling skype and this easybits go and everything related , end of the story.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ivan.lepe Ivan Lepe
  • http://www.facebook.com/mrpaj Jason Lavigne

    All they needed to do was ask, just ask.  I don’t mind the software but it should ALWAYS be by choice.  Thanks for the remove instructions.

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    Are you sure though. I’m not sure if he knows what is going on exactly because the EasyBits software has been part of the Skype family for some time. I’ll look into it though.

  • Rabih Harb

    having some sensitive info’s on my pc and this virus looking software coming up … it was kind of genuine wtf panic …

  • Joey Catuara

    Awesome help – thanks!

  • Tomy

    http://www.easybitsmedia.com/NewsAndMedia

    May 27, 2011-Gold version of easybits go released. I bet that’s why.
    Oh look at that…3804 people like this program!!?? (Facebook tag)
    BUT to uninstall it, check this link: http://www.easybitsmedia.com/support/RemoveGO.exe it’s (supposed to be) an uninstaller, I don’t know if it makes a difference but try it I use google talk so I never got caught up in this nonsense.

  • http://twitter.com/blackxino Davido

    farking pricks!

    i’m gonna unistall this sh* now!
    everytime I use Skype the program just slows down man, it’s the only program on my laptop that slows down when I recover it from idle or doing other stuff.

  • http://www.bingobabe.co.uk Bingo Babe

    How is this legal, this crap just turned up on my desktop and i had no idea. This should be illegal. 

  • Jlkfdsfd

    just uninstalled skype.

    cya losers.

  • Anonymous

    Skype did ask me if I wanted to play the games and after I said yes, it installed it. I don’t know if they decided to let people opt in after the fact.

  • Hmm

    i got a little prompt, from skype, im pretty sure i click “No”, and yet it was still there…. promptly reformatted my pc….

  • Dontwanttogive

    Really a great post and shame on Skype, I use them a lot to chat with friends and relatives.

  • Dlkfajdlfkjd
  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    Reformatted? Ouch…a bit excessive.

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    Thank you…updating the post now.

  • Dlkfajdlfkjd

    no problem, been following the comments here and the skype forums for the whole day. so thank you for compiling all the info u have here

    http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showtopic=821491&st=340 the past couple of pages have a few skype admin posts (finally)

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    LOL at the admin’s responses. Also, this whole ordeal really is a big blow for Skype, coupled with the recent Microsoft buyout.

  • Nightskyefire

    It asked me before installing the program, I told it no, it’s not installed.  This is not something that happened by stealth.

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    Seems a lot of us actually got no information about it being installed. Skype asked me to grant it permission and I said no, only to find out it was already installed :/

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DZ2ON4YLPYL4E5REWYFEJQZO6Q Vug Vee

    Just who in the heck does Skype think it is? For real? Wow.

    http://www.privacy-web.no.tc

  • http://www.bytehead.org/blog/ Bryan “bytehead” Price

    The only thing I’ve got going is Last.FM.  I never did see it ask me to install or anything else. :/

  • Hunter

    This is for the games application on skype… And it has been there for ages now. I think the “crapware” is the support for playing them. But I don’t play the games anyway

  • u Suck

    It’s the price of using Windows. Sorry, but you suck.

  • U Suck

    Ummm, but it only affects the Microsoft OS. All of those shitty vendors like Dell and HP started this trend of CrapWear and Skype are simply going with the MS flow. Why isn’t it installed on Macs?

  • http://www.bingobabe.co.uk Bingo Babe

    That not very nice.

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    Ermm really u Suck?

  • http://www.techload.com.br Tradutor Ingles

    Is this the first genius act of Microsoft as the new Skype owner?

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    They have not officially taken them over from a management perspective, so this is all Skype’s and EasyBits’ doing.

  • http://www.thedayafteryesterday.co.uk/ Annie (Lady M) x

    The same happened to me; Skype installed this software without asking me. It is an absolute disgrace that they are allowed to do this. Thanks for the fix though – much appreciated!

  • Anonymous

    “ For such a reputable company like Skype, it really is a shame that they went ahead with such a plan, and I do hope it was more of an accident than intentional.”

    How can you make the assertion that Skype is a reputable company? Ever noticed how purposely misleading and confusing their web site is about the rates and fees paid for their services? Ever notice how they purposely try to circumvent security and firewall implementations?

    Skype has always been shady.

  • Spade

    It’s pretty much impossible for this to be Microsoft’s fault. But that’s almost immaterial at this point – Microsoft’s reputation is so poor that most people *expect* this kind of thing to be Microsoft’s fault, even when there’s no way it could have been.Microsoft has nobody to blame but themselves for earning such a poor reputation. It’s going to take a loooooong time (and most likely a change in leadership) before the average person stops expecting Microsoft to be responsible for things like this.

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    Then why is it so popular? If it were so bad, there are other alternatives which people can turn to.

  • Tom Burke

    Big Brother is watching us all in so many evil ways !

  • mpguest

    That’s the 64 mil question you and us will have to answer.

  • mpguest

    By the way, I had to post as guest since I just found out for sure that my disqus account “maxpayne2005″ has been running into issues with Akismet regardless of what disqus powered site using Akismet I post on. I’m not a spammer and I can prove it. Could you email me as I might need your help?

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    I whitelisted your email address. Hopefully that fixes things but usually the blacklisting management is handled at the Akismet level :/

  • mpguest

    Hi Bradley,

    Sorry to reply here since there’s no more room for reply further down. I’m afraid I’ll still have to post as mpguest to reply. I logged in
    under my regular maxpayne2005 disqus account (same email address) but it
    appears that the Akismet plugin overrides DISQUS regardless. Akismet
    recently replied and had me do a test on its blog but everyone can pass
    through that wordpress  blog so no telling if my email address is
    “blacklisted” or simply being misunderstood. Thanks though for your
    support. By the way, if you do a filter search on email:”email address
    here” and look up the results, you should see my two posts that Akismet
    marked as “spam”. I dunno what the solution is but I’m afraid I’ll have to do some more research on Akismet before I can see where things went wrong. Thanks again and all the best.

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    Yea, I checked on my end and it definitely isn’t blacklisted, and to my knowledge, blacklisted users are only listed if a moderator on my end does it manually. If it is done automatically, then blame Akismet. Once again, you’ve been added to the  whitelist because I have no problems with your comments.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kester.ratcliff Kester Ratcliff

    My computer keeps on freezing and hanging while I have Skype running, I think since Skype went and installed this piece of crapware on my PC without asking me first. Not impressed, at all. Even BitDefender didn’t pick it up, I’ve emailed them complaining why they don’t have this thing marked as malicious software in their virus logs.

  • https://www.blogtechnical.com Bradley Wint

    It’s not a virus, just a big screw up on their part… because Easybits is a gaming platform that is part of Skype. Their recent update accidentally installed it onto PCs without any info.

  • Daltont2000

    http://skypejournal.com/blog/2011/05/31/skype-extras-partner-easybits-releases-game-uninstall-tool/ has interesting article and I love how they insinuate users are to blame for the installation!  “Unfortunately the user interface in the update installer has defects
    causing confusing user experience that leads to unintentional
    installations.”  Plus side there is an uninstall tool link.

  • zumbido

    for you, maybe, for me it was by stealth

  • Andy

    Will anything happen if I just don’t remove Easybits Go from my computer? People keep saying they think it’s malware, but I haven’t seen any evidence of this, or what it might do to my computer.

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