Good riddance to badware

Researchers at Harvard Law School and Oxford University have teamed up with Google, Lenovo and Sun Microsystems to help increase awareness of ‘badware’ and expose companies that support it via a new website called Stopbadware.org.

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By  Cleona Godinho Published  January 30, 2006

Researchers at Harvard Law School and Oxford University have teamed up with Google, Lenovo and Sun Microsystems to help increase awareness of ‘badware’ and expose companies that support it via a new website called Stopbadware.org. The site asks global users to submit their research and experiences with badware - a new term referring to any software that ignores a user’s choice over how their PC functions. Badware covers all kinds of malicious software including spyware, adware, uninvited browser toolbars and key loggers. Users who wish to participate can either submit their stories to Stopbadware.org or send in the names of malicious programs they have come across. Members of the new alliance have said that once they’ve ploughed through all the submissions, monthly reports of their findings will be published. These will include a blacklist of guilty companies and products, as well as tips to help users solve issues caused by such software. The alliance is also working on guidelines and testing procedures to define exactly what badware is, in order to help software coders develop effective anti-badware tools in the future. Stopbadware.org claims it is very different from other groups such as Microsoft’s Anti-Spyware Alliance because it’s not scared to name badware creators of any size. The group also believes its community-centred approach sets it apart from the rest. AOL has also joined the anti-badware movement by including scanning tools in the latest version of Netscape to protect its users from spyware, adware and phishing attacks. Meanwhile, the companies that support badware seem to be finding new ways to install the software on users’ PCs. According to Foxnews.com, Washington State is currently suing US-based Secure Computer LLC and six others for spreading spyware and adware via its so-called ‘Spyware Cleaner’ software.

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