Visual Porn Blocker - new porn blocking FREEware

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Visual Porn Blocker - new porn blocking FREEware
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Jim Hillier
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November 6, 2010 - 9:03 pm
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I'm always on the lookout for any new software which will help parents provide a controlled (safe) environment for their children and recently came across this interesting new application, [url=http://www.visualpornblocker.com/:327gf8h5][b:327gf8h5]Visual Porn Blocker[/b:327gf8h5][/url:327gf8h5]:

[quote:327gf8h5]Visual Porn Blocker is a freesoftware and it blocks porn websites, porn blogs, porn search engines, porn torrents and virus pages.
The app blocks porn sites on you PC, even if you have multiple accounts on the PC. It auto-block sites on all browsers.
Works up to 100%, Make's your PC free from porn and virus. Biggest and best porn filter/blocker in the world![/quote:327gf8h5]

There is absolutely zero information on the product home page about how the program actually works. I assumed it would most likely be filtering/controlling content via the hosts file and sent off an email to the developer in the hope of gaining some clarification. I received this most enigmatic reply:

[i:327gf8h5]"Hi Jim. My name is Mattias Ghodsian and is the owner and programmer of Visual Porn Blocker, it is very interesting that you want to write an article about our program, but unfortunately cant tell you how it works in background." [/i:327gf8h5]

I am pretty certain we can substitute "won't" for "can't" in that last bit. Being the actual programmer, Mattias would obviously know all too well how it works but, just as obviously, does not wish to disclose that information.

I can understand the secrecy but at the same time, I believe the lack of those details may discourage many prospective new users from giving the software a try out. I for one would not install something like this unless I had at least[i:327gf8h5] some[/i:327gf8h5] understanding of what is was doing and how/where it was doing it.

What do [i:327gf8h5]you[/i:327gf8h5] think??

[b:327gf8h5]UPDATE[/b:327gf8h5]: I scanned the Visual Porn Blocker download file through VirusTotal and 5 of the AV engines reported malware/adware. Admittedly 4 of the five are pretty obscure names but Emsisoft is well known and reputable. I'm fairly certain those results would be false positives but I have sent off a 'please explain' email to the developer anyway. Will report back when I receive his response: http://www.virustotal.com/file-scan/rep ... 1289115218

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Flying Dutchman
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November 7, 2010 - 2:51 pm
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Hi Jim,

You sure managed to get me curious.

Regarding Visual Porn Blocker
[quote:1az19x1r]There is absolutely zero information on the product home page about how the program actually works.[/quote:1az19x1r]
Actually, there's zero info on anything about the program.
The whole site felt like a tv commercial made by soemone with bad taste. It was registered by a "Arasch Ghodsian" in late June this year. Arasch Ghodsian is also mentioned in the handbook of the program as the guy who originally had the idea.

Judging by the photo, the use of four exclamation points (first paragraph) and the handdrawn #1 and the sort of boasting presentation of the program, I'd say Mattias Ghodsian is a schoolkid with the ambition of becoming a professional programmer and is using his first finished "home project" (based on someone else's idea) as a start off.
This could, to some extend, explain Mattia's refusal to reveal the "hows" of the program.

About the VirusTotal report
All scanners identify the same adware related infection. I looked it up and here's what reputable sites (Emsisoft, Malwarebytes) have to say about the "EShoper" one:
- Generates and displays advertisement.
- Collects user/ personal information and reports back to its owner.
Maybe that's how it works? Collecting users' surf habits and building up a database of blacklisted sites? Though that handbook says that one can ask for a site to be included.
The other scanners aside, it could very well be a FP, as Emsisoft does come up with a lot of those.
But, I'm really curious to see what the developer has to say - if he replies, that is.

About his refusal to speak about the program
As I said earlier, his young age and aspiration to be a successful programmer may be a partial explanation.
On the other hand, as Jim already pointed out, it's not logical to state that you're the developer of a program and then go on saying you can't explain how it works. That only means, you don't want to explain. So, it looks more like a "secrecy-mania" syndrom.
Which I've experienced before: some developers seem to suffer from a disease which I call "mistrust everyone asking questions because they want to 'steal' the 'secret recipe' that makes the program great and successful" - the desease doesn't seem to be that rare either.
Which is totally rediculous, IMHO always. If someone wanted to steal somebody else's code he wouldn't contact the original developer and ask for it, right? Or maybe it's already stolen and reverse-engineered, but the thief-coder got stuck at some point and needs a push?

Anyway, all this brings us back to the "building trust with the potential users" and "decisions made based on convenience rather than judgement" aspects we've talked before on this forum.

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Jim Hillier
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November 7, 2010 - 6:26 pm
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Here is the reply I got from Mattias:

[quote:9kou8slc]Dear James.
Sorry for the bad explaining but yes i wont tell you have it works. The thing with VirusTotal is something i can't change, there is no virus in the program so u can't explain why it shows that and i have over 4 000 users on the program and i have no complaining about it so there should not be any worries[/quote:9kou8slc]

Seems Mattias's English is not the best but that is still not a terribly satisfactory explanation as to why so many AV's would be flagging malware in his software.

FD - Very astute observations, as usual. The site is indeed very amateurish; misspelling and typos abound, plus the vagueness and paucity of details give the overall impression of a work in progress. Mattias told me that the site was first set up in May this year and has been revamped/overhauled twice since then.

I think you have summed up the situation perfectly FD, a couple of young (or youngish) guys with a good idea, a certain knowledge of coding and a shoestring budget. The shame of it is; there is a growing need/demand for this type of software in the market place (especially when free) and these guys just might have something a little bit special to offer.

I'm pretty certain the project/software is perfectly genuine but I believe Mattias requires assistance to help present and promote his product in a professional manner. A simple and basic explanation of how the software functions could be provided without revealing any critical/secret details, and that is (IMO) essential to encourage potential users to try the software and, subsequently, expand the user base.

Mattias also needs to realise that......[i:9kou8slc]" i have no complaining about it so there should not be any worries"[/i:9kou8slc] is a totally inadequate response to the VirusTotal scan results. I'm with you FD, I believe the very nature of this type of software invites false positives but Mattias needs to investigate and identify exactly why AV's are reporting the malware (whether FP's or not) and properly explain all that to prospective users. If Mattias is the programmer (as claimed) it should be well within the realms of his capabilities to do that. As you rightly say FD, gaining general acceptance for any new, different or innovative software is all about credibility.

Of course, there is always the other obvious possibility - that the 'secret' is there actually is no secret; nothing unique nor innovative about the software at all and it is merely replicating the established and common technique of editing/adding entries to the hosts file.

Cheers.....Jim

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Chad Johnson
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November 8, 2010 - 10:25 am
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So...who's going to take a chance and install this in a sandbox somewhere and go surfing porn "for research purposes"?

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Mindblower
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November 8, 2010 - 5:31 pm
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From what I'm reading, this porn blocker is an a/v program. Believe you can only have one resident a/v program running, and some a/v programs need to be totally uninstalled before another a/v program can be loaded into memory. Sounds like sticky waters, Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

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Jim Hillier
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November 8, 2010 - 6:46 pm
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No MB, this is not AV software. The 'virus' protection referred to in the blurb is a simple consequence of blocking access to the porn sites, thereby also automatically blocking off the malware which is inherently associated with such activities.

One can achieve the exact same result without any additional software....just don't visit any of those sites!

Of course, when it comes to adolescents, that is easier said than done. That's where this type of software can be helpful for parents, to prevent their offspring from visiting those undesirable site thus also avoiding the inevitable malware infections.

Cheers....Jim

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Flying Dutchman
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November 9, 2010 - 12:52 pm
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[quote:2nqr5klc]Mattias requires assistance to help present and promote his product in a professional manner.[/quote:2nqr5klc]
I couldn't agree with you more. Take for example the "Products" page. A professional, paid version's announced, but the only extra it'll have over the free one (according to this page) is the Swedish language. Now, how many people would actually pay for the pro version just because the free one (which offers the same features/ options) comes in English, the most commonly used language in software?

[quote:2nqr5klc]The thing with VirusTotal is something i can't change, there is no virus in the program so u can't explain why it shows that[/quote:2nqr5klc]
[quote:2nqr5klc]Mattias needs to investigate and identify exactly why AV's are reporting the malware (whether FP's or not) and properly explain all that to prospective users. If Mattias is the programmer (as claimed) it should be well within the realms of his capabilities to do that.[/quote:2nqr5klc]
If I'm not terribly mistaken, when an AV flags a program as malware, the developer can always contact the vendor of the AV and get the issue worked out. So, there

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Jim Hillier
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November 9, 2010 - 5:57 pm
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[quote:b9n2w138]Jim, if this is the case, it's not something negative in itself. If this is just a simple program with a friendly GUI that allows people to filter urls via the hosts file while minimizing the danger of messing it up, it's OK and he can say so; there's still a user base for it

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Flying Dutchman
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November 10, 2010 - 6:22 pm
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Hmm, this is a tough one to decide on, Jim. The odds speak against it.
Mattias so far reaction indicates that he's not that receptive to opinions or suggestions, so I can't imagine that he'd take criticism any better.
Keeping that in mind, lets take a look into [quote:wvhncbg9]what people in the real world are saying[/quote:wvhncbg9] from Mattias stand.
Who exactly are these "people"? Four individuals who don't even use his program. One of them made a comment on the lighter side and one mistook it for an AV. That leaves two (you and me) who exchange views for the past four days.
He claims to have 4,000 users (who - don't forget! - have no complaints). That makes us a measly 0.05% compared to his user base. Now, assuming that he'll care enough about what's written in this thread, do you honestly think that he'll manage to overcome his defensive attitude and see our comments as the kind of suggestion/ advise that could benefit him?
It's more likely that the initial reaction will be feeling hurt, followed by getting pissed off (or vice versa) and it'll end with him dismissing our saying rather quickly and going back to what he knows.
I think he'd be more receptive to suggestions/ advise/ criticism coming from someone he knows and trusts.

The whole situation is rather sad, actually. I mean, if you look at the download numbers around the net, they're over 2,000 on Softpedia alone (downloads don't necessary equal active users, I know), yet no one "Likes" him on the Facebook page he's put up nor has made a positive comment on any download site.

I think he's already got all the "attack" he can handle for now. Drawing his attention to something that could be perceived as more "attack" may result to the opposite of what we wish for.
If you're having second thoughts, then it's not the right thing to go for. And I'll side with those second thoughts of yours, at least for now.

Gee, it took me a lot of words to conclude to "it's not such a good idea", didn't it?

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Jim Hillier
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November 10, 2010 - 6:32 pm
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LOL, yes it did FD...but I appreciate the second opinion, which pretty much confirms my own thinking anyway.

Cheers (and thanks for your input)......Jim

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Mindblower
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November 11, 2010 - 9:43 am
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FD, how can one not take the two comments from the site as NOT being an a/v? Why mention the word [b:35z1ozs6]VIRUS [/b:35z1ozs6]if one is just blocking [b:35z1ozs6]PORN[/b:35z1ozs6]?

[i:35z1ozs6][color=#0000FF:35z1ozs6]Benefit Number Two
Works up to 100%, Make's your PC free from porn and [b:35z1ozs6]virus[/b:35z1ozs6].

What is our app?
Visual Porn Blocker is a freesoftware and it blocks porn websites, porn blogs, porn search engines, porn torrens and [b:35z1ozs6]virus pages[/b:35z1ozs6].[/color:35z1ozs6][/i:35z1ozs6]

Just for the record, when I first visited the site, it looked totally different, Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

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Jim Hillier
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November 11, 2010 - 3:20 pm
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Mindblower - That was me mate...not FD.

Two Points:

Point One: PORN and VIRUSES are just about synonymous. If you are blocking porn you[b:2q9413pv] are[/b:2q9413pv] also naturally blocking [i:2q9413pv]some[/i:2q9413pv] viruses. The software is not[i:2q9413pv] specifically[/i:2q9413pv] designed to stop viruses but if it is blocking access to porn then it will also be blocking [i:2q9413pv][b:2q9413pv]access[/b:2q9413pv][/i:2q9413pv] to those viruses which are associated with such activities.

Point Two: The owners of the site have and grossly exaggerated the effects of their software:
[quote:2q9413pv]Works up to 100%, Make's your PC free from porn and virus.[/quote:2q9413pv]
The last part of that statement is patently untrue. Will it make you PC 100% free from porn? Perhaps, if it is very good software, that is entirely possible. Will it make you PC 100% free from virus? Absolutely not! It will stop only those viruses that one would normally encounter when accessing porn.

[quote:2q9413pv]Visual Porn Blocker is a freesoftware and it blocks porn websites, porn blogs, porn search engines, porn torrens and virus pages.[/quote:2q9413pv]
The last part of that statement is also untrue, or at the very least misleading. The software will [b:2q9413pv]not[/b:2q9413pv] block access to [i:2q9413pv]all [/i:2q9413pv]virus pages, only to those associated with porn. The statement would be more accurate if it read..."[i:2q9413pv]it blocks porn websites, porn blogs, porn search engines, porn torrens and[b:2q9413pv] virus form porn pages.[/b:2q9413pv].[/i:2q9413pv]"

True anti-virus programs are designed to block malware infections from a wide variety of sources, not just porn related. And even they would not be so bold as to state that they block 100% of all malware.

Visual Porn Blocker deals only with that malware which is related to accessing porn, simply because it prevents those activities, and for them to say it will make your PC 100% free from porn is an outrageous exaggeration.

Hope that helps explain,
Cheers mate....Jim

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Mindblower
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November 11, 2010 - 5:14 pm
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Sorry for any inconvenience ozbloke and FD. It would be nice to hear comments from someone who actually uses or tried out the software. From what I read (and re-read), I'm not even willing to test out the software. Too many unanswered questions/statements.

I do try out all sorts of software (Freeware, Shareware, and even those with a limited trial period before buying) but there is reason to my selection process. It must be software that sparks my interest, even if not for me personally, as I only recommend what I've tried out myself.

But I reserve the right to try it out, if it passes my wildest dreams, Mindblower!

"Light travels faster than sound;
That is why some people seem bright until you hear them speak"

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Jim Hillier
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November 11, 2010 - 5:42 pm
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[quote:35z9ko6x]It would be nice to hear comments from someone who actually uses or tried out the software.[/quote:35z9ko6x]

Absolutely MB, I have searched around the net high and low looking for any such comments....nada, zero, zilch. That, together with the compete lack on any definitive information on the home page make installation a huge gamble.

The developers are only too willing to tell us what their software[i:35z9ko6x] will [/i:35z9ko6x]do (exaggerations, misinformation, and all) but do not say one word about [b:35z9ko6x]HOW[/b:35z9ko6x] it will do that.

Given this situation, one must ask the question; what changes will this make to my system...what and where. The fact that, when scanning through VirusTotal, 5 different AV engines flag the software as containing malware/adware suggests that changes are almost certainly being made to critical system areas. Now these[b:35z9ko6x] could[/b:35z9ko6x] be false positives or they could be not. The point is that, lacking any feedback from users or more importantly any direction from the developers, that is impossible to ascertain.

I first looked at this software because I liked the sound of it, anything which will assist parents in maintaining a safe internet environment for their children is, in my book, well worthwhile. That was the reason I decided to investigate further. After reading through the scant and vague information on the home page I sent off a couple of emails to the developers seeking further enlightenment. Their replies have been equally devoid of any relevant/helpful information and similarly vague.

So, unfortunately at this point in time, I would not recommended this software to anyone.

Cheers....Jim

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Flying Dutchman
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November 12, 2010 - 6:37 pm
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[quote:yxcpyfi7]The fact that, when scanning through VirusTotal, 5 different AV engines flag the software[/quote:yxcpyfi7]
Number went up to [url=http://www.virustotal.com/file-scan/report.html?id=59d33e9d82f8f676f5901ff614d4244496227b5b149382a017953218998762e5-1289594098:yxcpyfi7]7[/url:yxcpyfi7] today, McAfee joined.

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