Thursday, July 07, 2005

Microsoft’s Old Dog “Security” Hasn’t Learned any New Tricks.

Microsoft has never received high marks when it comes to security but things seemed to be getting better. With the advent of security based code writing and the purchase of a company to get an excellent Spyware Adware scanner it seemed that Microsoft had finally decided that their customers deserved security and protection and Microsoft was committed to providing it.

But as the saying goes it’s hard for an “old dog” to lean new tricks. Now it seems that Microsoft’s old dog named “Security” is back at its old ways. Microsoft seems to again be looking at profits before security and customer protection.

The first hints of trouble started recently with the growing rumors of Microsoft’s intent to purchase the software company Claria. I’ll bet you’ve never heard much if anything about this company. It keeps a low profile but it’s well known in security circles.

Claria just happens to be the company that has single handedly produced some of the worst of the Spyware/Adware programs found on the web today. Just look up Gator, Gator Wallet, PrecisionTime, and Weatherscope on Google and you’ll see that these programs have a really, really bad reputation with security experts. (One that is rightly deserved in the opinion of every expert I’ve studied.)

At first I didn’t put much credence in these rumors of a buyout but now it seems that there must be some truth to these rumors after all. If it’s not a buyout something is definitely going on between Microsoft and Claria. It seems that suddenly Microsoft’s much touted Anti-Spyware program is now passing over Gator and some of the other programs that Claria software writes and distributes.

Strange that since by default every single major Spyware/Adware scanning package disables and/or removes all of these Claira programs so it’s not in question if these programs are Spyware/Adware. All of these Claria programs were by default also quarantined by Microsoft’s Anti-Spyware program UNTIL their latest “update”. Now it seems that Microsoft has changed the default setting of it’s scanner to pass over these programs and it allows them to continue to run on systems it’s scanned.

So if Microsoft isn’t trying to buy Claria then why did they make such radical changes to the basic default settings in their Spyware/Adware scanner? It didn’t happen by accident. Microsoft is smelling profit somewhere and it looks like they’re willing to lie down and roll over to make it. It’s too bad that some companies will do anything to make a profit. I was hoping that Microsoft had changed that attitude but it looks like it hasn’t.

Security and data protection have been sold out by Microsoft and unless their Anti-Spyware scanner is changed back to labeling Claria’s software for what it is Microsoft will ultimately be held accountable. I would hope that Microsoft wakes up before it’s too late but I don’t suppose that will happen if the past is any indication.

Microsoft and security still seem to be opposites.

PS If you still want to remove these Claria programs you only have to go to the ignore list and change the setting back to quarantine or remove to solve this problem. I've already be there and done that!!!

You can also find out more details on this matter in two other good articles located at;

eWeek’s home site,1895,1834607,00.asp
and on sunbelts blog site

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