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Microsoft's Security Products Will Block Adware By Default Starting On July 1 177

Posted by timothy
from the why-not-sooner dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft [Thursday] announced a change to how it handles adware, a form of malware that pushes unwanted advertisements to the user. As of July 1, the company's security products will immediately stop any adware they detect and notify the user, who can then restore the program if they wish. Currently, when any of Microsoft's security products (including Microsoft Security Essentials and Microsoft Forefront) detects a program as adware, it will alert the user and offer them a recommended action. If the user doesn't do anything, the security product will let the program continue to run until the user makes a decision." If adware is malware, why wait until July?
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Microsoft's Security Products Will Block Adware By Default Starting On July 1

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  • adware is malware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ClaraBow (212734) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @11:31AM (#46669761)
    when it deceives the user into buying shady and often worthless products.
    • by mysidia (191772) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @12:15PM (#46670107)

      No.... when they don't pay the fee to Microsoft. Microsoft wants to control all the advertising on the Start Screen and the Desktop alike.

      Of course if you use Microsoft approved advertising methods, and pay Microsoft the relevant fees, you'll get a pass.

    • by Smauler (915644)

      I wonder when microsoft will get around to getting their vendors to stop accepting kickbacks for shitty adware on new systems.

      This practice is one of the reasons why I still build my own desktop systems. Getting rid of the junk is a massive hassle, and restoration of the system from partition brings it all back.

      • by Cyberdyne (104305) * on Saturday April 05, 2014 @02:25PM (#46671107) Journal

        I wonder when microsoft will get around to getting their vendors to stop accepting kickbacks for shitty adware on new systems.
        This practice is one of the reasons why I still build my own desktop systems. Getting rid of the junk is a massive hassle, and restoration of the system from partition brings it all back.

        I hate the usual crap that gets shovelled on too, but to be fair Microsoft have apparently been pushing against that for a few years now for exactly that reason. Of course, they need to tread carefully there for legal reasons: if they block, say, Dell bundling a limited-time version of Norton Anti-virus, Dell won't be happy (they lose the $5 or whatever kickback) and Symantec will probably lawyer up and come knocking, particularly with Microsoft offering their own AV product now. Remember all the fallout when they killed off Netscape, when they stopped IBM from bundling OS/2 as a dual-boot setup with Windows? We both know this is different, but Microsoft's lawyers are apparently paranoid about crossing that line again.
        I'm told they also offer crapware-free machines in their own stores, which makes sense. I just wish they'd make OEMs ship a plain vanilla Windows install disk like they used to, no more "restore" BS - so anyone wanting a clean machine can just re-install.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Part of the deal for getting cheap OEM copies of Windows is that you don't bundle a generic install disc that could be used on other machines. It has to be tied to the original hardware. Such a disc wouldn't be much use to most users anyway, since it would make restoring the machine to factory difficult. You need to figure out which partition Windows was on, wipe it, re-install, install drivers, install support utilities for all those extra buttons and what-not, re-install anti-virus etc. Believe it or no c

      • by lgw (121541)

        I wonder when microsoft will get around to getting their vendors to stop accepting kickbacks for shitty adware on new systems.

        Arguably, the Nokia acquisition is partly their way of addressing that. Now that MS will also sell hardware, you'll at least have one vendor who doesn't lard up the system with junk.

    • adware is malware when the user didn't explicitly want to install it.
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot @ s p a d . c o.uk> on Saturday April 05, 2014 @11:32AM (#46669763) Homepage

    Presumably because of a deal struck with one of those weasel-word named "industry associations" like the "Really Helpful Consumer Notification Group" that represent shitty companies that do shitty things and who probably went to Microsoft and said "we need X amount of time to make sure our products meet your new standards so they don't get blocked" for which you can read "we need some time to find a way around your blocking so we can continue being shitty".

    • Damn you for reading my mind! That's exactly what's happening. They have to build a list of exceptions, and I'm sure one can get on that list for a "small fee".

    • Or they tried to minimize impact to their business by only inviting lawsuits from antivirus vendors on charges of anticompetitive behavior for bundling MSE. And did not want to take on additional enemies, since virus creators are unlikely to raise a fuss. But now they are taking that extra step, again with minimal business risk.

      And, if they announce mse will block adware, it has to be pretty good day one because it will be immediately tested. Announcing plans gives consumers a good feeling, and legit busine

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lgw (121541) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @02:34PM (#46671167) Journal

      "we need some time to find a way around your blocking so we can continue being shitty".

      Well, sure, but not much time, and consider that products like the Java installer bundle this crap. This change is very broad, and doesn't just affect fly-by-night malware bundlers like Sourceforge.

  • baby steps (Score:5, Insightful)

    by noh8rz10 (2716597) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @11:33AM (#46669775)

    MS is walking a fine line as it tries to transition from a company that sees users as the target to be exploited and a company that sees users as the customers. Remember all the crapware like Norton installed on every new PC. MS was cool with this because it enabled the OEMs to them more $$. If they were user focused they would have never allowed it.

    Now they're trying to move to an apple model where the user is first. blocking adware is part of this. but turning a big ship takes time, and there are a lot of long-time corporate relationships that need to change, so they are phasing in this new policy to block adware by default.

    Now that MS has gotten the "customer is king" memo, there are only two companies that see users as a resource to be exploited for gain, and customers as partners to assist in this exploitation: goog and fb.

    • Erh... both Google and FB treat their customers actually rather well.

      You? You mean they don't treat YOU well? No, wait, you're not the customer, you're the product.

      • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

        I agree, they make an intuitive platform for customers to use. Adwords and Adsense, eg. Or were you referring to the users of these sites? Users are the product, the commodity to be sold.

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      MS is walking a fine line as it tries to transition from a company that sees users as the target to be exploited and a company that sees users as the customers.

      Really? With Microsoft's new focus on social and free-to-use cloud services, I see them as following Facebook and Google and going the other direction.

      • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

        Depends on the revenue model. If they're using cloud to drive subscriptions a la office365, then users are the customers. If they're using the cloud and social to sell advertising, then users are the product.

    • by c2me2 (2202232)
      Microsoft was not "cool with this". Microsoft is legally prevented from interfering in the software that OEMs (Dell, HP, etc.) install on PCs. The OEMs are responsible for all the crapware, not Microsoft.
  • by Glasswire (302197) <.glasswire. .at. .gmail.com.> on Saturday April 05, 2014 @11:33AM (#46669777) Homepage

    One person's adware / malware is another's vital revenue stream.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And don't forget Skype. Oh, for all installations of Skype to suddenly be blocked!

      Also advertisements are immoral so I couldn't give a fuck if business owners (I am one, before you cry "pinko commie!") need to find another way to pay for their yachts.

    • by Deathlizard (115856) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @11:50AM (#46669901) Homepage Journal

      I wouldn't call the Bing Bar (or the Bing desktop for that matter) Adware per say simply because it doesn't attempt to sell anything, but it definitely is bundleware and needs to die in a fire like the rest of the toolbar garbage.

      That's going to be the real test for this initiative. Is it going to at least ask you remove the more legitimate toolbars like Ask, Bing Yahoo and Google Toolbars or is it going to ignore them. If it ignores them, Conduit's going to have a field day suing the hell out of MS for blocking their "Non harming" toolbar while ignoring the others. If they do detect them they better make sure Bing Bar is on the list or Google will be screaming "Antitrust" until the cows come home

      • What about the Xbox home screen? You pay a certain amount of money for the system. You pay 50$ a year to ACCESS their online services. Then they shove ads all over that auto-play when you scroll over them.

        Seems like it's adware when anyone else is doing it, but if MS does it, it's golden.

        • If I had to make a call there, it would be Ad Supported. Although MS is getting very ad happy with their metro apps as of late. Hell even Solitaire is coming with Ad's now. At least so far they've been static images which i'm ok with more than virus infected flash ads. The same goes with banner ads for Android apps as well.

          I define Adware as an application installed by a third party that is not associated directly with the downloaded app in any way and disrupts your experience outside of that particular app

      • by sconeu (64226)

        What bugs me about Bing Bar is that I hide it every time it shows up in Windows Update.

        Yet the next Patch Tuesday, there it is, just like Groundhog Day.

        • by oji-sama (1151023)
          Perhaps you should uninstall it as it would remove the need to update it? (I've never seen a Bing Bar update)
          • by sconeu (64226)

            It's not an update. It keeps on asking me if I want to install it.

            • by David_W (35680)

              Pay attention to the version numbers. Basically (and I'm making up the numbers here), if you tell it to hide v5, the next time it'll offer v4. Hide that, v3. And so on. They go away once you've told it to hide every one of them. And it'll come back whenever they release v6, but if you've hidden all the others, once you hide that it won't show up again until v7. So it takes some effort, but they can be squashed, eventually.

    • by Guppy06 (410832) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @12:16PM (#46670119)

      Bing Bar nothing. Windows 8 includes an unavoidable banner ad [microsoft.com] for the Windows Store.

  • It's about time they start doing something about adware. At least put that "Low Threat" section in MSE to good use.

    On the other hand, if they detect adware the same way the other AV's do, I wont be out of a day job. The only thing I've found that removes adware is ADWCleaner and the Junkware Removal Tool. The rest either don't detect it all, Detect only the most virulent or damaging forms of it, or detect it and won't remove it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Works for me.

  • Does that include the standard windows firewall?

  • If adware is malware, why wait until July?

    Because if they just popped it on the unsuspecting world with neither prior notification nor opportunity for users and IT professionals to react and inform, pundits would be caught unaware and unprepared and spend the next weeks complaining. Loudly. Vociferously. Obnoxiously. And users would be more pissed off than they will be in any case.

    • Now, because they announced it beforehand, pundits will spend the next weeks complaining, loudly vociferously, obnoxiously, all the way until MS actually release it. Users will be as pissed of as in the other scenario, because despite the previous communication, they won't bother listening, and won't know about it anyway.

  • They're well behind the times. They're apparently aiming at things like this ransomware (http://privacy-pc.com/how-to/fbi-moneypak-virus-computer-locked-by-fbi.html) There are unfortunately a lot of ad tools out there right now that still try to lock your application to their web site. And I recently had to have a long talk with someone at work who browsed a porn site and had a dozen or so pop-ups _under_ his active screen, all showing webcam pornography. When he tried to close the web browser, the pop-unde

    • by mysidia (191772)

      When he tried to close the web browser, the pop-unders were displayed, and it forced me to talk to him about keeping his workspace visitor safe.

      That's nice.... in many organizations; browser accessing a porn site would have to be reported to HR, and it would generally be grounds for immediate termination.

      OH yeah.... even if it did happen to be Adware that caused the porn to be displayed while they were operating it, b/c the user got their computer infected...

      • As it happened, he wasn't browsing at work. He was browsing at home, and since some employees are on call and need to respond quickly to service requests, he was off duty but using his work laptop for personal use. When he opened his laptop in the morning, it wasn't even in the active tab of his browser so wasn't apparent. But when he minimized the browser to show something else to a co-worker, oh my.

        Separating personal use from workspace resources can be very awkward, especially with companies where "Bring

  • Why disable software once it's installed? Shouldn't you at least attempt to stop the program getting installed first? Rather than open the front door and let the crap in, keep the door locked and screen your visitors.
  • Maybe cause they want to make sure that XP users get punished for not coughing up the cash for a worse OS?

    I'm trying Win 7 right now, it's slower on searching, locks up the PC if it hits a damaged file on a PC while searching, and doesn't even have a responsive mouse until it's been moving for ten or fifteen seconds - it's like the driver for the mouse goes into sleep mode after inactivity.

    I bought my Dad a PC as a christmas present - He's not very polite on how he describes windows 8.

    I want XP back.

    • by Arker (91948)
      XP is a very popular and well-liked OS.

      If everyone that prefers it would just break out the checkbook and donate to ReactOS, you could have a free clone with no artificial end-of-life. As much demand as there obviously is for this, you would think the project would have received more support.
      • First I heard of it, Will it be able to play all my games?

        • by Arker (91948)
          Yes, but when depends on the requirements of the games.

          If they are games that can be coaxed into running on the server version of XP ("Windows Server 2003")  then they should be working in the 1.0 release. Otherwise you would be lating for a later release.

          http://www.reactos.org/user-faq
  • Their ads try to install things on your system without your knowledge.

  • why they don't start removing unwanted advertisements from Skype instead?
  • by Tom (822) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @12:46PM (#46670383) Homepage Journal

    If adware is malware, why wait until July?

    Because they need to give time to their OEM and other partners as well as their own departments to transition to something that'll bypass this change.

  • i am total agree with you in this matter. Mobile Phone Solutions [the9idea.com]
  • by Hamsterdan (815291) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @02:42PM (#46671217)

    Will it prevent the Bing bar from being installed ?

  • ...that the advertisements that they serve are "wanted".

  • My own definition of malware is "Any piece of software on your computer which is under the control of someone other than the computer owner." Under this definition adware would be considered malware.

    Antivirus vendors of course refer to several classes of malware, including rootkits, trojans, viruses, worms (all of which classifications derive from the method the malware uses for propagation and activation). The actions of malware are various as well - botnets, rootkits, keyloggers, phishing redirectors,

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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