Microleaves, a ten-year-old proxy service that lets customers route their web traffic through millions of Microsoft Windows computers, exposed their entire user database and the location of tens of millions of PCs running the proxy software. Microleaves claims its proxy software is installed with user consent. But research suggests Microleaves has a lengthy history of being supplied with new proxies by affiliates incentivized to install the software any which way they can — such as by secretly bundling it with other software.
For the past seven years, an online service known as 911 has sold access to hundreds of thousands of Microsoft Windows computers daily, allowing customers to route malicious traffic through PCs in virtually any country or city around the globe — but predominantly in the United States. The proxy service says its network is made up entirely of users who voluntarily install the proxy software. But new research shows 911 has a long history of purchasing installations via shady “pay-per-install” affiliate marketing schemes, some of which 911 operated on its own.