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Microsoft Denies Claria got Spyware Exception 275

Posted by timothy
from the it's-better-than-worse dept.
daria42 writes "Microsoft has denied its AntiSpyware application has given adware-maker Claria special treatment. The denial has been issued amid reports MS is looking to buy Claria, and is in response to security researchers' reports stating AntiSpyware had downgraded the threat level posed by Claria's adware products. The downgrade in threat level merely represented an effort to be "fair and consistent with how Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) handles similar software from other vendors," according to a statement published by Microsoft." As reader jfengel writes, though, "they neglected to mention what software that might be, nor did they publish the analysis."
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Microsoft Denies Claria got Spyware Exception

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  • Re:Spy Sweeper too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:48AM (#13031961)
    Evidence please. We use their corporate product and would be very irritated were this true.
  • by oddheart (898891) on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:48AM (#13031962)
    From the bottom of that ZDNet article:
    "'We firmly believe that people should have complete control over what runs on their computers,' Microsoft added."
    Anyone else find that funny?
  • YRO? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tim C (15259) on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:54AM (#13031997)
    MS's anti-spyware tool isn't the only one available, it isn't bundled with the OS, it doesn't attempt to prevent the user from installing other anti-spyware tools - in short, it is one option of many and you are free to install others as well or instead of MS's one.

    Why is this in YRO? What right is being infringed or threatened? If you don't like MS's anti-spyware tool, don't use it!
  • by farker haiku (883529) on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:56AM (#13032013) Journal
    fair and consistent with how Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) handles similar software from other vendors,"

    So, um, what other program has had it's threat level changed?
  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:56AM (#13032015)
    It's a bird...it's a plane...it's AstroTurfMan!

    Microsoft's AntiSpyware worked well because Microsoft didn't write it...Giant did. Back before Microsoft got their hooks into it, it was a fine piece of sofware...past tense.
  • Re:YRO? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rpozz (249652) on Monday July 11, 2005 @08:57AM (#13032021)
    What right is being infringed or threatened?

    The right to privacy. This is a tool created by the same people who make Windows, and shows that Microsoft may well start favouring certain spyware companies.
  • Re:Spy Sweeper too (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:01AM (#13032036) Homepage
    For me, I am interested in open source spyware removal. I would like a product designed by people with a mindset like mine (anti all spyware). One of the issues is that anti-spyware/virus companies are getting sued by adware companies for slander etc. for calling the adware, well, adware.
    That is part of why a program that installs itself, logs your keystokes, saves your credit card info, and turns on your webcam while you are in the shower is a "petentially unwanted program" As long as anti-adware companies are suable entities, we are going to have these issues in addition to absolutely egregious issues like MS buying a spyware company.
    Next thing you know Cancer will have to be called "potentially unwated cells."
    And let us not be of the mindset, if people can't figure out how to keep spyware off their computer, they deserve it. A lot of those people are our parents and grandparents.
    Can you imagine spyware clippy- It looks like you are writing a letter to a bankruptcy attorney. Would you like me to set you up with my rich exiled Nigerian uncle?
  • Re:Ad-Aware (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sique (173459) on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:03AM (#13032044) Homepage
    I prefer to use three products in combination. Microsoft Antispyware on a daily basis, and periodical runs of AdAware and SpyBot S&D seem to do the trick for now.
  • I get it! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:10AM (#13032075) Homepage Journal
    MS is going to buy off all businesses that have anything to do with delivering any kind of unwanted software to users' computers. This maybe part of their plan for security on MS platform :)

  • by Alien Being (18488) on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:24AM (#13032154)
    "Please take off your tin foil hats, guys!

    Please take your head out of the sand.

    "One might say that Microsoft is primarily responsible for the entire spyware issue..."

    No, thousands of knowledgeable people *do* say it.

    "I suspect Firefox's track record would be worse, albeit better than IE, if it were as popular"

    That's a moot point.

    "MS AntiSpyware is a fine piece of software..."

    Penicillin is a fine medicine, but its makers don't go around spreading syphilis.
  • confusing the user (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nealfunkbass (701961) on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:27AM (#13032175)
    It is good that the Claria stuff is still being detected, and maybe it is not necessarily bad that the default recommendation has changed, if one were to assume that all similar products were treated in the same way.

    However, with some programs having the "ignore" recommendation, and others having "quarantine", it will probably give users the impression that Claria is at least somewhat ok, or something like that, which it is not (at least in my opinion).

    Actually, what kind of impression does that give someone who doesn't know any better?

    Something is detected by the spyware scanner, but the default recommendation is to leave it there.

    "Hey, this one is ok because it only spies me or invades my privacy a little bit."
  • Re:Spy Sweeper too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OglinTatas (710589) on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:28AM (#13032180)
    anti-spy software ignoring certain results will only be a problem if they also intentionally (or "unintentionally," or "incidentally" or whatever they call it when they are discovered) disable competitors' anti-spy software. I run lavasoft and spybot regularly, I have reasonable confidence in the integrity of both programs' developers. I run both because some find spyware that the others don't. If a company intentionally missed spyware, it would be underhanded, but the effect would be no different than if a company just didn't update its definition file yet. That's why you run 2 or more scanners.

    Now antivirus software, that is dangerous, because in some cases they really do interfere with each other, and therefore you have to rely on a single product to catch everything.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:28AM (#13032184)
    If someone has VNC on their computer and doesn't know it, then it is dangerous. Any program that lets you remotely control another person's computer is very dangerous. Don't be a dumbass
  • Not funny, really. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lheal (86013) <lheal1999 AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:28AM (#13032187) Journal
    That's actually the principle cause of all their problems. They don't have an adequate trust model for modern computing, being stuck in the single-user era.

  • Re:Spy Sweeper too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by garcia (6573) * on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:31AM (#13032202) Homepage
    I don't know if you guys know this, but Webroot's Spy Sweeper is also delisting obvious spyware.

    This is why people should not be supporting commercial entities that are selling spyware detection/removal software.

    This should all be free, open source, software that includes a community updated database of spyware junk. That way money and corruption stay out of the mix.
  • Re:I get it! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by malikvlc (889549) on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:39AM (#13032250) Homepage

    Scarier thought: How long have people tried to make a sure-fire money-generating internet ad system? Once MS buys up all the adware and spyware code, they will have instant access to the Windows desktops. Streaming ads 24x7, a new "feature", without which XP won't install.

    And no, I don't think the Antispyware Formerly Known as GIANT will object to MS adware - do you?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:45AM (#13032300)
    OK, you're just a go along get along kind of guy, a little bit thoughtful, but more interested in leading a full life than fighting the good fight, that's all fine, I don't want to change your way or your choices.

    But please, don't fall into the fallacy that if Microsoft didn't exist, that you would have no way of earning a living, or any of the other variations along the continuum.

    The Microsoft monopoly hurt the computer industry including everybody in it from consumer to worker to investor to competitor. Monopolies charge prices that are too high and that depresses economic activity and that hurts people. It's that simple. That is the beef, and you are free to hold all the other opinions you have.

  • by VagaStorm (691999) on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:46AM (#13032305) Homepage
    How much preformance loss would having multiple in-memory agents create?

    Less than GATOR......
  • by Scorpius-nl (827901) on Monday July 11, 2005 @09:51AM (#13032345)
    Microsoft is only a Marketing Company, I hear that alot, and it makes sense.

    When microsoft bought Giant their antispyware program was one of the best. When microsoft re-launched it under Microsoft AntiSpyware (and marketed as a new product), it got raving reviews.

    The effects are that people will start to trust MS antispyware, and will be starting to ditch their other antispyware programs. As soon as the majority of the people are used to the program, microsoft can dictate their own terms to what is spyware and what is not. Ofcourse microsoft will never go too far, but the changes will be "subtle", not enough to get angry about and still have solid bunch of supporters defending the program for microsoft.
  • Re:Ad-Aware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by A beautiful mind (821714) on Monday July 11, 2005 @10:04AM (#13032453)
    Honestly, how long will this continue?

    Before around '98 you needed only 'antivirus' software mainly. Then with the broadband spreading came the 'personal firewall'. In the last few years came Ad-Aware which is 'needed' if you want to get rid of spyware. In the last year and a half i was starting to see reports about needing both Ad-Aware and S&D, and now people are starting to suggest that someone needs 3 independent spyware/adware removal tools to clean up!!! Not to prevent infection, but to clean up!

    Seriously folks, when will the madness stop? You can't patch a broken design combined with user unawareness by semi-working cannot be trusted commercial programs!

    Personally i stopped using windows around the time XP arrived in 2001. I just had enough. I don't need no antivirus software, firewall software, ad and spyware removal and detection software and to fight an uphill battle trying to contain IE with an alternative browser. It is absolutely ridicoulus what someone needs to put up with.
  • by digidave (259925) on Monday July 11, 2005 @10:28AM (#13032680)
    Ok, show me once instance of spyware installing VNC. If you can't do it, then it shouldn't be listed.

    How about showing me where MS Antispyware lists Remote Desktop as a potentially dangerous application. Can't do it? That's what I thought.

    Don't be a dumbass.
  • by keraneuology (760918) on Monday July 11, 2005 @10:32AM (#13032717) Journal
    The issue here is not whether or not Windows Antispyware still detects Claria products...the issue is Microsoft's recommendation on said products. While it is true that users still have the option to remove Claria products if they so choose, the fact is that users had the option to keep Claria products on their system back when Microsoft was recommending removal. The insinuation that this change offers users more choice than previously available is tacitly false. The real issue here is Microsoft abusing their position of trust within the general computer user community. No, I'm not talking about people like us here...I'm talking about Ma and Pa Computer User...the ones who see a virus or spyware warning and panic. Many of these people rely upon the recommendations offered by the spyware detection/removal applications to decide on how best to manage their systems. By artificially upgrading Claria products from 'remove' to 'ignore', Microsoft is taking unfair advantage of these users' trust.

    The real issue is "where does Microsoft want to go tomorrow"? Today they downgrade the recommendation on what to do with Claria. Microsoft revolves around the long-term strategy and to believe that this is one of the few times when one of their decisions isn't a stepping stone towards something else is to take the bet on the horse with the longest odds on the field.

  • Re:Spy Sweeper too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 1800maxim (702377) on Monday July 11, 2005 @11:07AM (#13033017)
    If there is such a problem with lawsuits over labels, simply change the labelling system. INstead of calling it "adware" or "spyware", use description off the vendor's site. For example, Gator says

    The GAIN Network has a unique permission-based relationship with tens of millions of users. The GAIN Network enables consumers to download and use some of the Web's most popular software applications -- for free. In return, consumers agree to receive targeted promotions/ads from GAIN Network advertisers


    Instead of ad-ware removal tool, call it permissions-based Universal Uninstaller of Various Advertisment Delivery Applications.
  • Re:Spy Sweeper too (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shaitand (626655) on Monday July 11, 2005 @11:37AM (#13033324) Journal
    Personally I think we should be honest about the whole thing and refer to spyware removal tools as shitscoopers from now on.
  • by emurphy42 (631808) on Monday July 11, 2005 @12:25PM (#13033780) Homepage
    all the Open Source software available for Windows is there by accident. It wasn't written for Windows, it just was ported to Windows from some unix variant. Nobody writes GPL software with Windows in mind
    I believe Firefox is an exception to the former, if not the latter.
  • MS is likely hoping to counter Google by integrating an AdSense competitor directly into the browser, in a manner similar to Claria, but shipped with the next OS.

    IMHO, turning IE into a piece of adware would be a really stupid move on Microsoft's part. Doing that would guarantee Firefox a dominating market share (adblock is a wonderful thing).

    If they actually went so far as to embed ads into the desktop, that would cement my defection to Linux.
  • by going_the_2Rpi_way (818355) on Monday July 11, 2005 @12:38PM (#13033918) Homepage
    How about

    "If you want to be taken seriously, shouldn't you give interviews to people you don't have the ability to fire?"

  • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Monday July 11, 2005 @12:50PM (#13034020) Homepage
    "It's much better than spybot or ad-aware, in fact"

    Not from what I've read from numerous people who have tried it, here and on Usenet.

    It finds some stuff the others miss, it protects against some stuff the others miss - but so do they in relation to it.

    Adding the MS product to your bag of tricks is reasonable, but dumping any other antispyware product would be a mistake, as you said.

    But saying it's MUCH better than Ad-Aware or Spybot I think is incorrect.

    And finally, the point of the article is: you can't trust it anymore. That simple.
  • Re:Spy Sweeper too (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tolkienfan (892463) on Monday July 11, 2005 @12:59PM (#13034112) Journal
    Personally, I think that the law should stay firmly out of this arena - it's just too hard to draw a distinction that won't harm us or the technology at some point.

    About the only law I imagine I could stomach would be along the lines of full disclosure. In other words, whether the software did something out of the users control and without his/her consent.
    Unfortunately, you'd have to do some work around what is always allowed and/or implied. If you download a browser, are you implicitly allowing access to websites? What about sending info back to websites you didn't explicitly select? For instance when images are loaded from another site, with cookies and/or query data (doubleclick, anyone?)
    Would that be the fault of the browser?

    Such things are extremely hard to define for the general case.

    Seriously, the law needs to stay out until a clearly defined problem has enough impact that legislation is appropriate.

    Otherwise, we'd be hampered more than helped...

  • Re:Spy Sweeper too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jp10558 (748604) on Monday July 11, 2005 @07:56PM (#13038106)
    First I do think it's important to keep the definitions clear. What you describe is spyware - it tracks users without their permission, and steals information.

    AdWare is very different IMHO - it displays ads in the program in lieu of you paying for it.

    Now, I think adware can work as a business model - it works for most websites for instance, no reason it can't work for some software - like Opera for instance.

    Spyware should be flat out illegial - anything that installs as part of another program, or like GAIN pops up windows to display ads is just wrong. It's one thing to have an ad that is clearly part of the program chrome, and you know what program it's associated with as well as presumebly why it's there and another to cause more pop-ups on the web.

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