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Author Topic: Earning the 'daemon' inside DaemonTools...  (Read 4136 times)

worstje

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Earning the 'daemon' inside DaemonTools...
« on: February 13, 2012, 10:19:11 AM »
I just stumbled across this (link to full article)

Quote from: WithinWindows
Daemon Tools is cataloging all your disc images, without permission

So after launching Daemon Tools Lite today, I noticed a new pane on the right labeled MountSpace. Turns out, it’s a cute little service that shows the top games and applications that folks are mounting and using in Daemon Tools. And to deliver that experience, Daemon Tools hashes every image you mount and sends it to MountSpace servers with or without permission. Combined with your IP address, and probably more, it doesn’t take a genius to realize this is a huge privacy issue.

<snip>

Several problems:
  • The Daemon Tools Lite EULA only mentions the word “privacy” twice, both in irrelevant contexts. In fact, the EULA appears truncated.
  • Selecting “Don’t allow MountSpace to use my mount statistics” here doesn’t actually turn off MountSpace.
  • MountSpace doesn’t have a real privacy policy.

As always, the devil is in the details. :( I couldn't resist the pun, sorry...

I've had a funny feeling about this company for years - pretty much since they started bundling toolbars and all that 'good stuff' with their stripped down products. So while I am not affected, I wanted to alert all DoCo'ers about this as I know a fair few of you actually use this program. :)

For those who need an alternative, I can personally recommend the minimalistic Virtual CloneDrive. It doesn't do much more than mounting disk images, but in my experience that's all most people need, and it is very good at it.

wraith808

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Re: Earning the 'daemon' inside DaemonTools...
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2012, 10:45:19 AM »
I use FarStone's VirtualDrive.  Friends used to say that I was crazy to pay for something that DaemonTools gave for free.  I guess not.

wreckedcarzz

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Re: Earning the 'daemon' inside DaemonTools...
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2012, 11:27:26 AM »
Wouldn't it be sufficient to simply deny it internet access through Windows Firewall? DT really doesn't need the internet for anything other than update-checking, and that can be done through something like FileHippo's tool...

Lashiec

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Re: Earning the 'daemon' inside DaemonTools...
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2012, 02:59:23 PM »
Looks like Rafael didn't pay much attention when updating Daemon Tools. I just updated it and the program asks you whether you want to use MountSpace or not. To my knowledge, there's no silent updates of any kind, just a mere update check, which can be disabled as well.

Checking "Don’t allow MountSpace to use my mount statistics" doesn't disable MountSpace but the only thing it does in this state is to fetch up information from the MountSpace servers about the images you add to the Image Catalog. To disable it completely you have to uncheck the "Enable Media Info panel" option:

2012-02-13 21 40 37.png

This way the program won't establish any connection with the remote servers. Additionally, you may check the "Send anonymous usage statistics" option, which comes disabled by default. This is very bad.

Daemon Tools sure could use some competition here. It's a shame all the other tools still are not up to its standard, save for Alcohol, which isn't much more worthy of anyone's trust.

EDIT: Aha! In the newer versions they expanded the update process, so now you can also update the program without requiring the use of an installer. It seems that the process doesn't ask any question, which may explain why Rafael missed the new feature (I get an "Invalid server error" when attempting to update, so I'm not 100% sure).

What's more, the addition of MountSpace isn't mentioned anywhere in the Daemon Tools Lite changelog, while the paid clients get the 'privilege' of being informed beforehand.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2012, 03:13:00 PM by Lashiec »

Ath

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Re: Earning the 'daemon' inside DaemonTools...
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2012, 03:21:33 PM »
Hm, is that the same Daemon Tools that caused me so much compatibility trouble with all kinds of software, a few years back?

Switched to Virtual CloneDrive then and all was fine, as I'm not using the fancy 'game compatibility features' (yeah, right!) of DT anyway ;)

Nudel

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Re: Earning the 'daemon' inside DaemonTools...
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 02:59:18 AM »
I went off Daemon Tools when I noticed it installed a new root certificate authority on your machine, which essentially makes it possible for whoever controls (or gains access to) that root CA to sign any code so it appears to be from any publisher.

I don't know if it still does this as I haven't gone near it since then. I switched to Virtual CloneDrive which is free and works great, at least for my needs. (There are a few things DT does which VCD doesn't, but I don't need them.)

Daemon Tools is not the only tool to install a root CA but the one it installed seemed to be from a company who only created it to avoid paying money for code-signing, which isn't how things should be done. Code-signing certs are expensive, and the "proper" CAs can be leaked or tricked as well, but if every company creates their own root CA then the whole signing system is useless.

Innuendo

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Re: Earning the 'daemon' inside DaemonTools...
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2012, 01:18:57 PM »
I've always used Daemon Tools in the past, but this whole MountSpace thing is leaving a bad taste in my mouth so I went out looking for alternatives. What I found seems to be a little-known gem that may bear investigating for some of you. It's WinCDEmu written by SysProgs.

What attracted me was its simple interface, no limitation on number of virtual drives, its ability to create ISOs, has a portable version, and it's open source.

And did I mention the installer's size is less than 1 MB? ;)

Innuendo

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Re: Earning the 'daemon' inside DaemonTools...
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2012, 03:39:13 PM »
Looks like the Daemon Tools people issued a formal statement regarding MountSpace & since it was missed over here I provide a link for the completeness of this thread:

http://forum.daemon-...space-service-29177/

Short version: If you'll use Lashiec's screenshot as a reference, disabling "Send anonymous usage statistics" prevents Daemon Tools from sending information *TO* MountSpace. Disabling "Enable Media Info Panel" prevents Daemon Tools from obtaining information *FROM* MountSpace.

Disable both & your privacy is assured. Maybe I'll go back to Daemon Tools. Every other program that offers the functionality is not elegant at all.