Quick review of MS AntiSpywear reputed functionality

Discussion in 'Spyware' started by Alessandro Crugnola, Jan 9, 2005.

  1. Microsoft (aka GIANT) Anti-Spyware quick review
    - Installation is apparenly problematic for some (such as I) ...
    - But most seem to be installed within a few days of trying ...
    - Judging by the help from specific Microsoft private newsgroups ...
    - And from USENET NNTP public newsgroups (such as this one) ...
    - After running the program four or five times, I can say ...
    - The Microsoft GIANT AntiSpyware Program has multiple features ...
    - For example, it searches for spyware in memory ...
    - And it searches for spyware & trojans on disk ...
    - It has two disk scans; Scan & "Deep Scan", whatever that is ...
    - And it searches for the bad guys in the Windows registry ...
    - It can also run something called a "Quick Scan" ...
    - Whatever if finds, it sends to a network (if enabled) ...
    - This network seems to be based on collective intelligence ...
    - Unknown items can be sent to the network for analysis ...
    - There is also a "Microsoft Suspected Spyware Reporting Tool" ...
    - This tool is basically a manual to-be-filled form with blanks ...
    - You fill out your name, email address & problem description ...
    - Then you press the "Create Report" button to send it in ...
    - Microsoft Giant Anti-Spyware can schedule a scan every day ...
    - It can delete or quarrantine the suspected bad guy ...
    - It will save the scan history if you enable that option ...
    - A second major ability seems to be real-time locks ...
    - The MS Giant Anti-Spywear program has 3 protection states ...
    - One is called the "Internet Agent" ...
    - Another is called the "System Agent" ...
    - The third is called the "Application Agent" ...
    - The Internet Agent activates & deactivates "checkpoints" ...
    - Some IA checkpoints are WiFi Connection & Dialup Connection, ...
    - Internet Safe Sites, Winsock Layered Service Providers, ...
    - Windows Messenger Service, Span Zombie Protection, ...
    - Internet Proxy Server, Name Server Protection, etc., ...
    - For each of the above, it provides descriptive info ...
    - For example, for "TCPIP Parameters", it provides ...
    - TCPIP Parameters Status = Active ...
    - TCPIP Parameters Description = Prevents threats from
    modifying TCPIP parameters used by windows to send and
    receive network data. TCP/IP configuration parameters are
    registry parameters that are used to configure the protocol
    driver, Tcpip.sys. Tcpip.sys implements the standard TCP/IP
    network protocols. Some spyware threats such as CoolWebSearch
    can modify these parameters and take advantage of your computer.
    - For each of these "Internet Agent Checkpoints" are 4 options:
    - Option 1: Activate checkpoint ...
    - Option 2: Deactivate checkpoint ...
    - Option 3: Manage checkpoint (allowed/blocked) ...
    - Option 4: Learn about this checkpoint ...
    - The first three are self explanatory;
    - The fourth brings up a bit more info that stated already ...
    - Likewise functionality exists in the "System Agent" ...
    - Some system agent checkpoints are Windows Host File, ...
    - Windows Services, Context Menu Handler, Windows System.ini File ...
    - Windows Shell Open Commands, Windows Directory Trojans, ...
    - Windows Extensions, Windows Win.ini File, Control.ini Policy, ...
    - Ini File Mapping, Shared TaskScheduler, Winlogon Shell, ...
    - Approved Shell Extensions, Shell Service Object Delay Load, ...
    - User Shell Folders, Winlogon Userinit, AppInit DLLs, ...
    - Explorer Trojan, Windows Password Protection, Windows Protocols ...
    - Windows Update Service, Windows Restrict Anonymous, etc., ...
    - For each of the above, it provides descriptive info ...
    - For example, for "WOW Boot Shell", it provides ...
    - WOW Boot Shell Status = Active ...
    - WOW Boot Shell Description = Prevents spyware threats from
    - loading a particular flie during Windows boot up.
    - WOW\Boot\Shell is a Windows registry entry that will allow a
    - particular program to be shelled (loaded) when Windows boots up.
    - For each of these "System Agent Checkpoints" are 4 options:
    - Option 1: Activate checkpoint ...
    - Option 2: Deactivate checkpoint ...
    - Option 3: Manage checkpoint (allowed/blocked) ...
    - Option 4: Learn about this checkpoint ...
    - Again, "Learn about" supplies little more than the description ...
    - As noted, the third protection state is the "Application Agent" ...
    - Some Application Agent checkpoints are Process Execution, ...
    - Running Processes, Startup Files, Startup Registry Files, ...
    - ActiveX Installations, Browser Helper Objects, Script Blocking, ...
    - Internet Explorer Explorer Bars, Internet Explorer Extensions, ...
    - Internet Explorer Toolbars, Internet Explorer URLs, ...
    - Internet Explorer Security Settings, IE 3rd. Party Cookies, ...
    - IE Plugins, IE Security Zones, IE ShellBrowser, IE Trusted Sites, ...
    - IE WebBrowser, URL Search Hooks, IE Explorer Menu Extension, ...
    - Disable Regedit Policy, IE Reset Web Settings, IE Restrictions, ...
    - Application Restrictions, Installed Components, etc., ...
    - Again, you see 4 options (activate, deactivate, manage, learn) ...
    - Notice MOST of these "Application Agent Checkpoints" are IE related ...
    - Since none of us use Internet Explorer (as per the US government) ...
    - They won't help us much in my opinion ... and noticably lacking ...
    - are Mozilla FireFox and other browser settings (drat) ...
    - There are four additional so-called "Advanced Tools" ...
    - The first is called the "System Explorer" ...
    - The second is named the "Advanced File Analyzer" ...
    - The third is labeled a "Browser Hijack Settings Restore" ...
    - The fourth is a "Tracks Eraser" ...
    - The System Explorer is Tweak-UI & StartUp Cop on steroids ...
    - It handles three very important sets of common applications ...
    - Downloaded ActiveX, Running Processes, & Startup Programs ...
    - The System Explorer manages the problematic Internet Explorer ...
    - Internet Explorer IE BHOs, IE Settings, IE Toolbars, ...
    - The Networking part covers Winsock LSPs & the Windows Host File ...
    - And the System section covers Shell Execute Hooks ...
    - I think the best of the above is the explanation of all
    startup programs & running processes (finally, offline)!
    - For example, the "Startup Programs" section has 5 locations ...
    - The first startup location is the Registry Local Machine Run ...
    - The second startup is the Registry Local Machine RunOnce ...
    - The third startup location is the Registry Current User Run ...
    - The fourth startup location is the Winlogon Userinit ...
    - And the fifth startup location is the Winlogon Shell ...
    - For each, there is a line for each program to be run ...
    - And, as before, a quick description related to spyware threats ...
    - Likewise for the "Running Processes" section ...
    - Each of a score of processes is outlined & explained ...
    - For example, "jusched.exe" was running on my system ...
    - This "Running Processes" section explained the following:
    - This is a known process, there are no known security issues ...
    - or privacy issues with this application ...
    - Even so, this "Running Processes" tool provides two options:
    - Stop the process from running now ...
    - Learn more about this application ...
    - This time, instead of an off-line help of minor use ...
    - Hitting "Learn More" brings up a port 80 call ...
    - Pointed to http://www.spynet.com [] ...
    - Which, as has been the case, supplies nothing more than
    - what was already available in the off-line description ...
    - In the Advanced Tools section "Browser Hijack Restore" tool ...
    - Again, it's almost exclusively Internet Explorer related ...
    - There is little to nothing about the browser we actually use ...
    - For example this reputedly "protects" your "Start Page" ...
    - And it purportedly protects your "Local Page"; however ...
    - It does so by setting to www.msn.com (which nobody uses) ...
    - Likewise, it "protects" other Internet Explorer settings ...
    - Such as Start Page (all users), Local Page (all users), ...
    - Customize Search (all users), Search Assistant (all users), ...
    - Blank Page, Desktop Navigation Failure, Navigation Canceled, ...
    - Navigation Failure, Offline Information, Post Not Cached, etc. ...
    - Most (if not all) of which are protected merely by setting ...
    - them to a Microsoft web page (e.g., ie.search.msn.com) ...
    - This Restore Hijacked IE Browser Settings has only 2 options ...
    - The first is to "Change restore setting to a new URL" ...
    - The other is to "Restore this setting now" (to MS defaults) ...
    - The last "Advanced Tools" of interest is the "Tracks Eraser" ...
    - This provides a quick means to "Erase Tracks" such as ...
    - Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0, Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0, ...
    - Microsoft Common Dialog - File/Folder Lists, ICQ, ...
    - Google Toolbar History, Internet Explorer History, ...
    - Internet Explorer Cookies, Kazaa Hisory, RegEdit History, ...
    - IE Intelligent Forms - Auto Complete Passwords, ...
    - IE URL History, Microsoft Photo Editor History, ...
    - Microsoft Paint History, Microsoft Direct Draw History, ...
    - Office 97 Recent Files History, Office 2000 Recent Files, ...
    - Real Networks Real Player 6.0 History, Start Menu Run History, ...
    - Start Menu Search History, Temporary Internet Files History, ...
    - Visual Studio 6.0 History, Visual Basic 6.0 Recent Files, ...
    - Windows Explorer History, Windows FTP Accounts, ...
    - Windows Mapped Drives, Windows Media Player, ...
    - Windows Recycle Bin, Windows Recent Documents, WinRAR Hisory, ...
    - Windows Temporary Files, WinZip History, WordPad History, etc., ...
    - Again, the major fault with these settings is the dire lack
    - of non Microsoft tools & the inability to add them to the list ...
    - In this section, there is only one option (erase or not erase).
    - I guess that's two options ... but I'm getting tired.

    In summary, the Microsoft AntiSpyware Beta1 tool DOES contain
    many useful features ... particularly the ability to more
    easily ascertain a threat and to deal with it ... but it suffers
    like all Microsoft products, from the inability to handle non-MS
    tools that we all use in our day-to-day activities.

    Differing opinions are welcome & solicited so we all benefit.
    Alessandro Crugnola, Jan 9, 2005
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  2. Wowweee! Does it really have all that functionality?

    Should I then ditch PC Magazine StartUp Cop & the MS Control-Alt + Del
    Task Manager & Microsoft's msconfig & tweakui utilities and
    Ad-Aware & SpyBot checkpoint programs in favor of this new
    Microsoft AntiSpyware all-in-one system utility?

    Orak Listalavostok

    Orak Listalavostok, Jan 9, 2005
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  3. Alessandro Crugnola

    * * Chas Guest

    Since you are not using IE then you shouldn't have to worry about most
    of these threats or problems???

    If it does all that you say it can then it also gives MicroSloth
    almost complete access to check out your system and keep track of what
    you do with it???

    1984 twenty years late....
    * * Chas, Jan 10, 2005
  4. Alessandro Crugnola

    jim Guest

    I wouldn't.
    jim, Jan 10, 2005
  5. Alessandro Crugnola

    Horatio Guest

    jim wrote:
    || On 9 Jan 2005 12:18:30 -0800, "Orak Listalavostok"
    ||| Wowweee! Does it really have all that functionality?
    ||| Should I then ditch PC Magazine StartUp Cop & the MS Control-Alt +
    ||| Del Task Manager & Microsoft's msconfig & tweakui utilities and
    ||| Ad-Aware & SpyBot checkpoint programs in favor of this new
    ||| Microsoft AntiSpyware all-in-one system utility?
    ||| Orak Listalavostok
    || I wouldn't.

    The new MS antispyware program caught several malware that all the others
    missed, including Kon Tiki.
    Horatio, Jan 10, 2005
  6. Alessandro Crugnola

    CGB Guest

    I ain't touchin' it until Siljaline or Calamity Ken tell me to!!!

    CGB, Jan 10, 2005
  7. I'm still keeping Network Associates Virus Scan for to prevent virus attacks;
    Ad-Aware SE Personal to block spyware attacks;
    HijackThis to detect & remove browser & registry hijacks;
    SpywareBlaster to protect my browsers from attacks;
    StartUp Cop to manage my startup items;
    Sygate Personal Firewall to block incoming ports;
    SiSoftware Sandra to detect hardware & other settings;
    Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer to check settings;
    Microsoft PowerToys (eg Tweakui.exe) to tweak system settings;

    Did I miss anything useful?
    Bill W. Dixon, Jan 10, 2005
  8. Alessandro Crugnola

    timbirr Guest

    Yep, same experience here. It caught several that others missed. Then I
    ran Spy Sweeper immediately after and it caught two that MS missed.
    None of them catch everything.
    timbirr, Jan 10, 2005
  9. Alessandro Crugnola

    PA Bear Guest

    At this time, support for the beta version of Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware
    is being provided through the following Microsoft newsgroups:

    - microsoft.private.security.spyware.announcements
    - microsoft.private.security.spyware.appcompat
    - microsoft.private.security.spyware.general
    - microsoft.private.security.spyware.install
    - microsoft.private.security.spyware.networking
    - microsoft.private.security.spyware.signatures
    - microsoft.private.security.spyware.onlinecommunity

    These newsgroups can be accessed via NNTP or HTTP.

    To access these newsgroups using HTTP, please go to the following location:


    To access these newsgroups using NNTP, please use the following information
    for your NNTP client (e.g., Microsoft Outlook Express):

    - NNTP Server: privatenews.microsoft.com
    - Account name: privatenews\spyware
    - Password: spyware

    NOTE: No password will be required via the HTTP link

    PA Bear, Jan 10, 2005
  10. Alessandro Crugnola

    siljaline Guest

    Hi Chet,
    While I can speak for 'Calmity Ken" -- I recommend the program.



    MS - MVP Windows (IE/OE) 2003/04 AH-VSOP
    Security Tools Updates

    (Reply to group, as return address
    is invalid - that we may all benefit)
    siljaline, Jan 10, 2005
  11. Alessandro Crugnola

    Cdon Guest

    For some reason, I trust that the PUBLIC newsgroups will provide good
    answers too.

    On the one hand, I suspiciously wonder aloud whether the PRIVATE
    proprietary newsgroups can possibly have the readership to get the real
    problems and answers out there ... and the guts to tell the truth?

    On the other hand, IF the private newsgroups are MODERATED by MICROSOFT
    PERSONNEL (aka Giant personnel), then these private proprietary
    newsgroups can take on the true task of caring loyal support (which we
    all need).

    In summary ... while the private newsgroups have the potential to
    provide more knowledgeable support ... I wonder if they are better than
    the public newsgroups where you get what you get but it's generally
    pretty danm good.
    Cdon, Jan 10, 2005
  12. Alessandro Crugnola

    PA Bear Guest

    Yes, it's confusing and IMO could've been handled better, but...

    While the MSAS Beta newsgroups are on the 'privatenews' server, they are
    indeed open to the public (i.e., no password required if accessing the
    newsgroups via HTTP). The MSAS Beta Team is monitoring these newsgroups.

    Note that there are both public and private betas for MSAS. The newsgroups
    listed in my post are for those participating in the public beta.
    PA Bear, Jan 10, 2005
  13. Alessandro Crugnola

    Robert Moir Guest

    And you of course verified using means independant of all automated tools
    that this was a legitimate, full and active "infection", not a false alarm
    or the MS spyware scanner tripping over "immunisation" attempts by another
    spyware scanner, or suchlike? Because thats the only way to ensure that one
    scanner really did catch "several malware that all the others missed".

    Robert Moir, Jan 10, 2005
  14. Alessandro Crugnola

    Robert Moir Guest

    As the groups are open to all using the details provided in a previous post
    why not visit them? Then you won't have to wonder, you'll know either way.
    Robert Moir, Jan 10, 2005
  15. Alessandro Crugnola

    CGB Guest



    CGB, Jan 11, 2005
  16. Alessandro Crugnola

    siljaline Guest

    You're most welcome.

    siljaline, Jan 11, 2005
  17. Alessandro Crugnola

    larrybud2002 Guest

    -The way you write
    -is incredibly difficult
    -to read
    -I'm not going to read
    -more than the first
    -five lines...
    -Learn to write
    -in English
    -and you'll get
    -a better response.
    larrybud2002, Jan 13, 2005
  18. Alessandro Crugnola

    David Smith Guest

    Looks like english to me. Should they use smaller words?
    David Smith, Jan 14, 2005
  19. Alessandro Crugnola

    MrPepper11 Guest

    "Spyware lurks on as many as 80% of computers nationwide. Microsoft
    Corp. Chairman Bill Gates discovered spyware on his personal machine
    not long ago."

    Los Angeles Times
    January 14, 2005

    No More Internet for Them
    Fed up over problems stemming from viruses and spyware, some computer
    users are giving up or curbing their use of the Web.
    By Joseph Menn, Times Staff Writer

    Stephen Seemayer had the first Pong video game system on his block. A
    decade later, the Echo Park artist was the first in his neighborhood to
    get a personal computer. And in 1996, he was so inspired by the World
    Wide Web that he created a series of small paintings for viewing over
    the Internet.

    Now the 50-year-old Seemayer is once again on the cutting edge: Sick of
    spam clogging his in-box and spyware and viruses crashing his system,
    Seemayer yanked out his high-speed connection.

    "I'm not going to pay for something that I can't use," he said.

    A small but growing number of frustrated computer owners are coming to
    the same conclusion. They're giving up or cutting back their use of the
    Internet, especially at home, where no corporate tech support team will
    ride to their rescue.

    Instead of making life easier - the essential promise of technologies
    since the steam engine - the home PC of late has made some users feel
    stupid, endangered or just hassled beyond reason.

    Seemayer's machine, for instance, got so jammed with spam that he
    stopped checking e-mail. When he surfed the Web, pop-up ads from a
    piece of spyware he couldn't wipe out spewed sexually explicit images
    and used so much computing power that the PC would just stop.

    "I could be sitting here in the living room reading a book," Seemayer
    said, "and I'd hear my son scream: 'It froze up on me again!' "

    So when his son left for college in September, Seemayer finally

    Now when he uses his computer, it's to compose letters or organize
    photos - anything that doesn't require interaction with any other

    Seemayer is still in the minority. Overall Internet use continues to

    But 2004 "was a real turning point in a bad direction," said technology
    analyst Ted Schadler of Forrester Research. "People are getting really
    angry. They're angry at Dell and Microsoft and their cable providers,
    and that's appropriate. They should be."

    In a recent survey, 31% of online shoppers said they were buying less
    than before because of security issues. And though more people are
    signing up for high-speed, commerce-friendly connections, the
    proportion of U.S. Internet users paying for things online barely
    budged in 2004 from a year earlier. It rose to 27% from 26% in 2003
    after jumping from 20% the previous year, according to Harris

    For many, spyware was the last straw. During the last 18 months, the
    sneaky programs have soared to the top of the list of tech woes,
    triggering the most tech support calls to Dell Inc., the nation's top
    PC maker. Spyware lurks on as many as 80% of computers nationwide,
    according to the National Cyber Security Alliance, a trade group.

    Spyware generally transmits information to third parties and sometimes
    takes control of a PC, usually to display ads. The most pernicious
    varieties have instructed millions of computers to make expensive toll
    calls or logged every keystroke on affected machines and sent account
    numbers and passwords to identity thieves.

    No one is immune. Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates discovered
    spyware on his personal machine not long ago.

    The aggravation level has reached the point that some in the computer
    industry believe it threatens to undermine advances of the last decade,
    during which the Internet has grown from a virtually empty domain to a
    global community of 800 million souls. They say they need to act before
    the same early adopters who led mainstream Americans online lead them

    "If, as an industry, we're not able to provide a safe, reliable
    computing environment, we do think consumers will get increasingly
    frustrated," said Michael George, general manager of Dell's U.S.
    consumer business. "We're concerned, and we want to get to a position
    where we play an instrumental role in fixing the problem."

    It may well be up to private enterprise. Congress and the Federal Trade
    Commission are exploring a crackdown on spyware, but government efforts
    to stop another online scourge, spam, have had limited results, as many
    with an e-mail account will attest.

    The root cause of the problems is the open architecture of the
    Internet, initially inhabited and managed by a collaborative community
    from government and universities.

    "The Internet ... grew out of a shielded, nice-guy environment in
    academia," Web usability expert Jakob Nielsen said. Back then, "the
    worst abuse might have been sending a prank message. Nowadays, the Net
    reaches everyone in the industrialized world, including large amounts
    of people with no shame and large numbers of criminals."

    Microsoft's dominant Windows operating system also makes it possible
    for malicious code to spread, in part because it was designed to allow
    so many functions. Once a weakness in Windows is discovered by hackers,
    a virus can wreak havoc on millions of computers before Microsoft can
    offer a patch - which typical users may not take the initiative to

    And consumer advocates claim that state and federal laws against spam
    don't help. Courts have protected software vendors from most consumer
    lawsuits, and some have held that the companies are all but immunized
    by warnings buried in lengthy user agreements, those boxes with massive
    amounts of text with the "I agree" button at the bottom.

    Whatever the reasons, the threats have evolved from minor annoyances to
    serious computer risks.

    Gerald Stark, 52, trained on computers in school and in the Navy before
    starting a small cleaning business in Lisbon Falls, Maine. He figured
    he could use the Internet to find equipment at a good price, track his
    sales and organize his volunteer activities with the Boy Scouts.

    "I thought that the computer was the way to go because it was so much
    faster," he said. "It turned out to be a nightmare."

    A virus killed one machine. Then spyware infested the next one, wiping
    out a year's worth of receipt records.

    Stark read five years' worth of computer magazines just to keep up with
    how to defend himself.

    Even with two firewalls and antivirus and anti-spyware programs
    running, Stark stopped looking for new business deals online. He said
    he would buy only from places he had dealt with before, preferably in
    the physical world rather than the virtual one.

    "I'm not letting my guard down again," Stark said. "Never."

    Henry Stiegel didn't think he needed his guard up in the first place.
    Pressed by his stockbroker and friends, Stiegel got his first home
    computer in 2003.

    "I thought it was going to be like a television set - I'm going to sit
    right in front of it all day and have some control and learn things,
    scan for airfare and travel," the former Grumman Aerospace Corp.
    engineer said from Homosassa, Fla.

    Even after studying in computing classes, the 77-year-old Stiegel was
    swamped by hundreds of viruses, other malicious programs and pop-ups.

    "I still have windows I can't delete when I want to get rid of them.
    When I send an e-mail, I get interrupted and have to start all over,"
    Stiegel said. "I have actually pulled the plug out of the wall so I
    could reboot."

    Stiegel now turns the computer on only two or three times a week,
    mostly to read his e-mail.

    In Grand Rapids, Mich., homemaker Peggy Kasul sits halfway between the
    anxious newcomers like Stiegel and the jaded old pros like Seemayer.

    A computer owner for seven years, Kasul did a little shopping online.
    Her husband used the machine to help manage some rental property, and
    her 16-year-old daughter wrote term papers for school.

    Then her daughter went on the Internet to research a paper on the issue
    of breast-feeding in public. As if she had typed in a magic word,
    spyware ads for porn sites popped up and wouldn't go away.

    Soon the computer was unusable. It took more than three weeks and $300
    to get the thing working again, by which time all the family's data had
    been wiped out.

    Now Kasul sends her daughter to use the computers at school or the

    "I don't do much shopping online anymore because that scares me," Kasul
    said. "I go to the store."

    The biggest factor behind the rapid increase in spyware is the amount
    of money at stake. Ads for such blue-chip companies as Motorola Inc.,
    Verizon Communications Inc. and JP Morgan Chase & Co. appear in spyware

    The businesses most often accused of distributing spyware, including
    privately held Claria Corp., WhenU Inc. and 180Solutions Inc., say they
    are providing legitimate "adware" services to customers who approved
    the installation. But their disclosures are often misleading or buried:
    A recent Claria license ran for more than 60 electronic pages, first
    mentioning the phrase "pop-up" on page 18.

    Much spyware arrives bundled with programs such as screensavers and
    file-sharing software.

    "The part that worries me most is the tremendous amount of money that
    can be made by tricking people into installing junk on their
    computers," said Ben Edelman, a Harvard graduate student who has
    testified against spyware companies. "It's a great business."

    The defenses remain scattered. Windows PCs often don't come with
    antivirus software installed. Firewalls and spam blockers are usually
    separate too, and there are dozens of small companies offering what
    they describe as anti-spyware products - some of which are actually
    fronts that install spyware.

    "Staying safe online has gotten too complicated for the average user to
    do by buying individual products and making them work together,"
    America Online spokesman Andrew Weinstein said.

    Realizing that such fragmentation is making matters worse, some
    companies are rounding up the pieces of a more complete resistance.

    Microsoft recently bought both an antivirus company and an anti-spyware
    software maker. Time Warner's latest version of AOL checks for spyware
    and offers to delete it. And where Dell's online guide for configuring
    a PC used to suggest a combined antivirus and firewall program without
    saying why, it now explicitly warns buyers to protect themselves or
    face potentially costly problems in the future.

    Legislation that would have required more direct warnings by spyware
    companies to consumers and ensured that users could delete the programs
    made headway in the last session of Congress, despite objections from
    top computer-security company Symantec Corp. and other software
    providers. Ari Schwartz, an anti-spyware lobbyist with the
    Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology, put the odds of
    some legislation passing in 2005 at better than 80%.

    The FTC last fall filed its first case against spyware companies
    accused of using a security flaw in Internet Explorer to cram
    system-glutting programs into the machines of website visitors. The
    companies named were Seismic Entertainment Productions Inc. and
    SmartBot.net Inc. But current fraud laws allow regulators only to
    recover ill-gotten gains - no matter how much damage the bad guys have

    Enacting new federal bills "would be helpful," said Lydia Parnes,
    acting director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. Spyware
    "needs to be understandable to consumers, and it needs to be presented
    in a way that's kind of visible to them."

    Even if a strong law passes, Parnes said she didn't know whether the
    average computer user would be any better off in three years.

    If it's worse, Seemayer probably won't be the only one on his block
    with a PC cut off from the Internet.

    "It's great for anything you can do on your own," he said. "It seems to
    me an incredible typewriter - and that's it."
    MrPepper11, Jan 14, 2005
  20. Alessandro Crugnola

    Roger Rabbit Guest

    Let me quess. He was using IE6 as his default browser?????
    Roger Rabbit, Jan 14, 2005
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