Kazaa Was a Pioneer --- For Spyware

by Preston Gralla

How the mighty have fallen.

There was a day when Kazaa was the must-have file-sharing program for anyone interested in digital music. It helped launch the file-sharing and digital music revolution. It forever changed the way that people treated their music.

Then recently, it was named the leading pest on the Internet by Computer Associates, who own Pest Patrol anti-spyware software. Computer Associates call Kazaa the leading pest not only because the software is bundled with spyware, but because of its high "clot factor" -- in the words of Computer Associates "how much a pest 'gums up' a machine by adding registry entries, files, and directories," and so slows a PC down.

How bad is Kazaa? How does about 70 unnecessary Registry entries sound to you? You can get more details in the Kazaa entry on the Computer Associates Spyware Information Center.

The truth is, Kazaa was always a pest, even while it let you share files with others. It always installed spyware on your system, but because it also offered benefits, people were willing to overlook that it. So Kazaa was a pioneer in both spyware and file-sharing. In fact, it was many people's first brush with spyware.

All in all, I think computing history will treat Kazaa badly. It wasn't the first file-sharing application, and not even the first big one, because Napster came before it, and had a larger influence than it ever did. But because of the massive number of people who have Kazaa on their computers, and the big spyware payload it carries, it will probably have done more than any other program to spread spyware and pests.

And all for the sake of sharing music. There must be a better way.

What do you think of Kazaa? Let me know.


2004-12-01 19:02:47
Kazaa Lite
Does anybody know what happened to Kazaa Lite ? I've been using it in preference to the real Kazaa for some time in order to get around the above mentioned spyware issues. I found it from this article in Wired

but when I followed the link to kazaalite.com I found only a bunch of links to various things, including one to a product called K-Lite. Is this the same thing ? Do we trust it ? The web site looks quite dodgy.
2004-12-01 19:08:05
Kazaa Lite
I believe that Kazaa Lite was legally hounded out of existence by, of all people, Kazaa, who went after it for copyright infringement. Talk about irony --- the company that claimed it wasn't violating copyright laws when it allowed people to share music, went after a free piece of software for copyright infringement. If I'm recalling it properly, Kazaa lawyers went after all the sites that hosted Kazaa Lite, and so it's unfortunately gone. It was a great program while it lasted.
2005-03-19 19:26:25
Kazaa Lite
Kazaa Lite was never shut down!! Kazaa Lite 2.7 and all versions of Kazaa Lite can be downloaded at the official Kazaa Lite website at:


2006-02-05 02:14:07
Kazaa Lite