Is Ring Runner Free malware?

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Is Ring Runner Free malware?

Post  removeitpls on Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:02 pm

Hey there,

Just today gog.com started its Winter Sale and I pondered with buying your game Ring Runner. I did a bit of research and found out that you're offering a limited free version of Ring Runner (http://ringrunner.net/sdl.html) and jumped on to it to try it out.

I downloaded your file "RRFree.zip" which contained the folder "Ring Runner  1-0-1-0 Free" and immediately noticed that your file and folder structure looked a bit wacky (a .application file, .exe.config.deploy files, etc.) but Avira didn't find anything suspicious and so I clicked on your setup.exe file.

And there I encountered the second bummer: An unknown installation window, greeting me with "Application Install - Security Warning", "Publisher Cannot be verified." and similar warning messages. Well, normally this would have been it for me but since you're selling on gog.com and even Steam I figured you can't be fraudulent folks. So I clicked on install.

And then I hit the third bummer: your game demo didn't ask me where to install itself to. It just went through its stuff, quit, and started your game. So far so good. I wanted to play your game with a gamepad, closed your game, plugged the pad in and wanted to start your game again.... but I didn't find any shortcut whatsoever. No desktop shortcut, no startmenu entry, nothing. So I looked through C:, %appdata%, etc. and couldn't find anything either.

And here comes the reason why I'm here. I now want to uninstall your game again. But lo and behold your game isn't listed under control panel\programs and features. It just has no entry there at all.

This kind of stuff is malware behavior.


So, before I get really angry and mad, I hereby give you an opportunity to explain this to me. Where did your game install itself to? What else did you install I do not yet know about (disregarding the XNA framework)? And how do I remove your demo game again?


Thank you very much and with sincere regards

"removeitpls"


P.S.
Assuming you're not a fraudulent bunch of malware (and god knows what else) distributors I strongly suggest you do something about your installer and the way it handles your free version of Ring Runner... .

removeitpls

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Re: Is Ring Runner Free malware?

Post  Blurb on Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:50 pm

Just downloaded and installed the free version (from your link) - I'm already familiar with the full version.

First off, the download package looks identical to the full version, although the application name hints at the limited nature (RingRunner Free.application instead of RingRunner.application).
I too got a warning window when installing the program, highlighting that the origins are unknown.

As for the install, I got both Start-menu shortcut (which referred to an .appref-ms in C:\Users\User\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\RingRunner Free) and another .appref-ms on my desktop.

I did have an uninstall RingRunner Free in my control panel, and did uninstall the game.
Apart from the names, nothing have differed from my experience with the full version.
While I'm not concerned, I too would like to know what else has been installed with RingRunner - and where it is. The overall look of the installation windows are somewhat unusual, as they appear more like a standard windows program than a game.

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Re: Is Ring Runner Free malware?

Post  EvilNinjadude on Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:25 pm

I don't know why your game doesn't show up in the list of installed files. What I do know is why it installs to a weird location: It's because it's installed and launched with the ClickOnce deployment system, which handles stuff in an allaround weird way.
The weird part and the only part that I cannot explain is indeed the inability to see the game in the control panel.

PS: Blurb, this is probably because ClickOnce is INDEED Microsoft technology.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ClickOnce

It was the first time I'd run across it, but it wasn't the last time it happened since then.


Note: We have had a previous thread on a similar topic.
http://ringrunner.forumotion.com/t231-how-to-update

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Re: Is Ring Runner Free malware?

Post  removeitpls on Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:57 pm

Hi guys, thanks for your replies!

After I read Blurbs reply I re-installed Ring Runner Free and I think I found out what went wrong for me. This time I did get the startmenu and desktop shortcuts and I did have the demo listed under control panel/programs and features with the option to uninstall it. What I did different the first time was that I had assumed it needed admin rights for the installations and executed it as such. What the installer did afterwards was, that it put the two shortcuts and the uninstall option to my admin account, and not the one I was logged in with. As I didn't install it with admin rights the second time it did those two things on my current account.

Furthermore I found out that it installs itself to

C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Apps\2.0\A47TBHOT.XVO\QXKHA3BW.J5O\ring..tion_8622c399559320ce_0001.0000_28d49d9fb24d80c4

and that was the reason I couldn't find the installation folder. I didn't expect such an arbitrary name and as it was installed with admin rights the first time the path for %appdata% was different too... .


Well, I guess that somewhat answers my concerns. Thank you guys for your help and the quick replies. Smile


But either way that was not a good first impression. The Dryere brothers should improve on that, especially the security warnings and the installation path.

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Re: Is Ring Runner Free malware?

Post  EvilNinjadude on Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:06 pm

I don't think the security warning can be avoided, since it's probably being provided as a butt-covering measure any time the source of the executable is not microsoft or a registered partner thereof. As to the name of the folder... the ClickOnce system apparently wants to keep all of that in the backend. Unlike the program files, which are labeled and accessible for fiddling, the contents of this folder aren't really meant to be fiddled with. Think of it as a robot cashier. Will do what you need it to do, but don't expect it to answer any questions or talk to you about its personal life.

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Re: Is Ring Runner Free malware?

Post  Paul Dryere on Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:11 pm

We are working on moving the free version to Steam, which will install it with their developer license. So the warnings will go away.

In order to not have a warning we would have to apply to become a verified publisher and purchase a license, which until recently wasn't practical from a financial perspective. Now, that we have been accepted on to Steam, it seems a better idea to just move the free version over as a Steam Demo.

The wonky install path is due to the fact that the game uses ClickOnce for installation and patching. This is also eliminated in the Steam Version.

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