Microsoft Downgrading Spyware?

You might not know the name of Claria as a corporation or business in the US but for anyone who has ever had problems with adware/spyware, you will surely be familiar with names like ‘PrecisionTime’, ‘Weatherscope’ and any of the Gator products that you “have” to install in order to get your favourite freeware to work….

Anyway, we (we being Event Ireland) share our building with another Irish company, EMG Control Systems, who use a good number of PCs in their line of work, one of which houses a lot of important day-to-day items, one which must also be connected to the ‘net at all times.

So joy would have it this morning when it turned out that the machine was riddled with spyware, actually riddled to the stage where there are files everywhere and anywhere that simply don’t belong, running applications that do no good, causing all kinds of user discomforts.

Queue Microsoft AntiSpyware (still Beta as far as I know) which picks up the same 19/20 spyware changes every time, after it insists that it has cleaned them, removed them, deleted them, and rebooted…. yet they always come back! So it was no surprise to me that I read this only after I had gone through the emergency repair of Windows 2000 as the hard drive would no longer boot due to certain spyware activity…

Less than a week after published reports of acquisition talks between Microsoft Corp. and the Redwood City, Calif.-based distributor of the controversial Gator ad-serving software, security researchers have discovered that Microsoft has quietly downgraded its Claria detections.

Anti-spyware activist Eric L. Howes, who serves as a consultant to Sunbelt Software, discovered the default changes during a recent test that included four Claria applications: Dashbar, Gator, PrecisionTime and Weatherscope.

So Microsoft fancies itself buying out a company who knowingly serves up ads and “free” ad-based software which quietly gathers statistics on all your goings on, and then plays down the spyware threat in their own software, that was originally designed to wipe out the activity of the company that they’re buying….?

Oh please….

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