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eburger68
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-28

4 edits

9 recommendations

MS Downgrades Claria Detections

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Hi All:

Several sources have now confirmed that Microsoft downgraded its detections of Claria's adware products in the latest update (#5731) to Microsoft AntiSpyware released today. Where Microsoft AntiSpyware used to detect Claria's products and present users with a "Recommended Action" of "Quarantine," following today's update Microsoft AntiSpyware now presents users with a "Recommended Action" of "Ignore" (see attached screenshot). Users can still change the action to "Quarantine" or "Remove."

While Claria's products have not been removed from the Microsoft AntiSpyware definitions, this change is troubling, coming so close on the heels of the revelation that Microsoft has been in talks with Claria to acquire the company:

»Is Microsoft about to buy Claria/Gator ???

Credit goes to Donna of "Calendar of Updates" ( »www.dozleng.com/updates/index.ph···pic=5570 ), Ben Edelman ( »www.benedelman.org/news/063005-1.html ), and Suzi of Spyware Warrior for testing and confirming this find.

Best,

Eric L. Howes

Note: as discussed later in this thread, it now appears that the Claria detections were "downgraded" much earlier than the 7/1 update (#5731) -- at the very least by 6/2 (#5723).

Edit: Full Disclosure - since Nov. of 2004 I have performed consulting work for Sunbelt Software, the makers of the CounterSpy anti-spyware application. In Jan. 2004 I was awarded the Microsoft Most Valued Professional Award (MVP) for my work on privacy and security issues.


mers2
Premium,MVM
join:2004-03-20
USA
kudos:8

1 recommendation

It looks like the suspicions of many are being confirmed. This is a sad day for users of Microsoft.


richter35
Premium
join:2004-01-03
Croatia
reply to eburger68
I guess we're one step closer making purchase official. Yes, you can still change it, but having MSAS highly recommended on most security forums could have vast impact on Claria not being removed with MSAS for users who are not aware this change. However, since this has just happened today, we can hope more users become aware of how MSAS handles Claria/Gator by default.

B
Premium,MVM
join:2000-10-28

1 recommendation

reply to eburger68
I guess this has the nice silver lining of keeping the other antispyware companies in business after all.

My predictions:

1. The eternal vigilance of people like Eric, along with the trusty sensationalism of the media and the blogs, will cause MS to retreat from its current course.

2. The Claria deal will never take place.

3. In a year or so MS AntiSpyware will fall into the same dustbin where they left MS AntiVirus in the 80s, with no real updates and disillusioned users.

4. The pollyannish MS supporters will somehow claim it's all for our own good.

5. TCPA will render some of this nonsense moot (for better and for worse).

6. The AV companies will finally get off their fat asses and start handling the spyware problem properly.

I'm going out on a limb on that last one.

The time frame here is approximately 2 years.

-- B
--
In a realm outside causality and function


MapleLeaf
Premium
join:2001-09-04
Burnaby, BC
said by B:

1. The eternal vigilance of people like Eric, along with the trusty sensationalism of the media and the blogs, will cause MS to retreat from its current course.

2. The Claria deal will never take place.
I am afraid there is too much money at stake here for them to back off...
--
Remember, I'm pulling for you - we are all in this together...

Mele20
Premium
join:2001-06-05
Hilo, HI
kudos:5
reply to eburger68
This is sad news. I don't think MS will back off. I suggest everyone using MSAS strongly consider getting rid of it and using CounterSpy instead. It is very reasonably priced and PCWorld August 2005 edition says the new beta engine is their product of choice for antispyware applications.

Plus, CounterSpy says this of Claria:

Advice: Remove This is a very high risk threat and should be removed immediately as to prevent harm to your computer or your privacy.
»research.sunbelt-software.com/th···h=Claria
--
Around 2005 a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. The very survival of the nation will seem to be at stake.Sometime before 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history. The risk and promise will be very high. The Fourth Turning Wm. Straus


redxii
Premium,Mod
join:2001-02-26
Sherwood, MI

1 edit
reply to mers2
said by mers2:

It looks like the suspicions of many are being confirmed.
Embedding ads and pop-ups into Windows? That is the suspicision of "many". We all know that Microsoft can't get away with that, if not for long.

I think the problem is overstated, fanboys looking for a rush.

»www.siliconbeat.com/
»www.perfected.org/archives/2005/···azy-but/

»www.benedelman.org/news/063005-1.html
"The Times says Microsoft's Ballmer wants to be "more aggressive" in pursuing Google."
--
"If you like linux then use it otherwise stop preaching about linux we all already know about it and if we like it we'll use it. If you keep pestering people you look like those annoying Jehovah's witnesses... [..] with nothing better to do."


mers2
Premium,MVM
join:2004-03-20
USA
kudos:8

3 recommendations

said by redxii:

said by mers2:

It looks like the suspicions of many are being confirmed.
Embedding ads and pop-ups into Windows? That is the suspicision of "many". We all know that Microsoft can't get away with that, if not for long.

I think the problem is overstated, fanboys looking for a rush.

»www.siliconbeat.com/
»www.perfected.org/archives/2005/···azy-but/

»www.benedelman.org/news/063005-1.html
"The Times says Microsoft's Ballmer wants to be "more aggressive" in pursuing Google."
Ad-Aware caught heck for quietly dropping WhenU. Microsoft appears to be dropping Claria/Gator from being quarentined/deleted for the money, not that the threat has changed. I hold the same standard to Microsoft that I do to other companies. I was vocal about Lavasoft's actions previously and if MS continues to go down an ethically challenged path I will also be vocal. It's not just pop ups or ads that bother me - it's the tracking technology and the existing database of information that may be put into use by MS. While I was going to give them the benefit of the doubt, this certainly tips the odds that they aren't going to do the right thing.
--
God put me on this Earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now, I am so far behind I will never die.


Doctor Four
My other vehicle is a TARDIS
Premium
join:2000-09-05
Dallas, TX

1 edit

1 recommendation

reply to eburger68
When the Lavasoft/WhenU debacle was the hot topic in this
forum, I uninstalled my copy of AdAware and removed all
installers permanently.

I am about to do the same with Microsoft Anti Spyware. And
I (and many others) thought they could be trusted.

Edit: having read one of the above posts, I am strongly
considering purchasing Sunbelt Counter Spy now.
--
"Kayura or Badamon, whichever you are, you should know that I will never give up this battle. By the will of the Ancient, I shall succeed!" - Shuten (Anubis) from the Ronin Warriors.
To RIAA/MPAA - You can sue but you can't catch everyone!


BillRoland
Premium
join:2001-01-21
Ocala, FL
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
reply to eburger68
While I agree with the majority that this is a disappointment, I think it bears remembering that Ad-Aware simply quit detecting WhenU, MSAS still detects Claria, just assigns is a lower threat score. Still not good, but not quite apples to apples.
--
"Don't steal. The government hates competition."


Chris 313
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reply to Mele20
said by Mele20:

This is sad news. I don't think MS will back off. I suggest everyone using MSAS strongly consider getting rid of it and using CounterSpy instead. It is very reasonably priced and PCWorld August 2005 edition says the new beta engine is their product of choice for antispyware applications.

Plus, CounterSpy says this of Claria:

Advice: Remove This is a very high risk threat and should be removed immediately as to prevent harm to your computer or your privacy.
»research.sunbelt-software.com/th···h=Claria
Hearing this news makes me glad I can't use MSAS and instead am using Counter Spy. Even though MSAS is free, I still like the better detection CS gives me, even if I got to pay yearly for it.


mers2
Premium,MVM
join:2004-03-20
USA
kudos:8

1 recommendation

said by Chris 313:

Hearing this news makes me glad I can't use MSAS and instead am using Counter Spy. Even though MSAS is free, I still like the better detection CS gives me, even if I got to pay yearly for it.
Counterspy is everything MSAS should have been.
--
God put me on this Earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now, I am so far behind I will never die.


Chris 313
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said by mers2:

said by Chris 313:

Hearing this news makes me glad I can't use MSAS and instead am using Counter Spy. Even though MSAS is free, I still like the better detection CS gives me, even if I got to pay yearly for it.
Counterspy is everything MSAS should have been.
I only HOPE that CS doesn't weaken because of a Spyware company offering money, or a spyware company buyout like MS is probably doing.


mers2
Premium,MVM
join:2004-03-20
USA
kudos:8
said by Chris 313:

said by mers2:

said by Chris 313:

Hearing this news makes me glad I can't use MSAS and instead am using Counter Spy. Even though MSAS is free, I still like the better detection CS gives me, even if I got to pay yearly for it.
Counterspy is everything MSAS should have been.
I only HOPE that CS doesn't weaken because of a Spyware company offering money, or a spyware company buyout like MS is probably doing.
Considering the people who run Sunbelt software and those who consult for them (including our own Eric Howes) I'd say that possibility is slim to none.
--
God put me on this Earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now, I am so far behind I will never die.


redxii
Premium,Mod
join:2001-02-26
Sherwood, MI

1 edit
reply to Chris 313
said by Chris 313:

I only HOPE that CS doesn't weaken because of a Spyware company offering money, or a spyware company buyout like MS is probably doing.
EDIT: I see where you're going.

At least they didn't silently remove Claria detections--
"If you like linux then use it otherwise stop preaching about linux we all already know about it and if we like it we'll use it. If you keep pestering people you look like those annoying Jehovah's witnesses... [..] with nothing better to do."


Chris 313
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said by redxii:

said by Chris 313:

I only HOPE that CS doesn't weaken because of a Spyware company offering money, or a spyware company buyout like MS is probably doing.
EDIT: I see where you're going.

At least they didn't silently remove Claria detections
:) They didn't remove Claria detection, they "downgraded" it.

If I used MSAS and came upon Claria and know about this site and it's info, I'd immediately switch Ignore to REMOVE.


mers2
Premium,MVM
join:2004-03-20
USA
kudos:8
reply to redxii
said by redxii:

said by Chris 313:

I only HOPE that CS doesn't weaken because of a Spyware company offering money, or a spyware company buyout like MS is probably doing.
EDIT: I see where you're going.

At least they didn't silently remove Claria detections
This is true and they are definitely above Lavasoft on that count. But you have Microsoft, a trusted entity, telling it's users that Claria/Gator is not a threat. Most of those users are uninformed and will allow it to stay on their machines because MS says it's ok. All because MS is in a potential business deal with a known malware company.
--
God put me on this Earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now, I am so far behind I will never die.


dfc888
Premium
join:2003-07-22
San Bruno, CA
reply to eburger68
Do I smell lava[soft]?

As long as MSAS still detects it.. and gives me the option to remove it.. then it should be fine.. if Microsoft decides to NOT detect it.. then this is a little different...

I can't believe Microsoft is having such deals with such a shady company as Gator.
--
defcon888@gmail.com
.proud user of sbc services
.ppl who call ie a pos are usually too dumb to know how to lock it down =)


salzan
Experienced Optimist
Premium
join:2004-01-08
WA State
reply to eburger68
Most irritating is that these decisions to remove/downgrade definitions are politically motivated. It has nothing to do with the adware/software in question cleaning up their act or suddenly turning over a new leaf. I may not be able to control many of the political annoyances in my day to day life but I can certainly control what's installed on my computer. If I get uncomfortable (as in the case of Lavasoft) the software just goes away.

It is too bad that the anti-spyware sector is increasingly infected with this disease.


CalamityJane
Premium,MVM
join:2002-08-27
Eustis, FL
kudos:8

3 recommendations

reply to eburger68
Microsoft, this is just bad!

Another disappointed MVP. We're into fighting spyware, not joining it

Bad move :thumbsdown:


dfc888
Premium
join:2003-07-22
San Bruno, CA
said by CalamityJane:

Microsoft, this is just bad!

Another disappointed MVP. We're into fighting spyware, not joining it

Bad move :thumbsdown:
I bet the public will lose their trust in Microsoft Antispyware before it even comes out of beta :p
--
defcon888@gmail.com
.proud user of sbc services
.ppl who call ie a pos are usually too dumb to know how to lock it down =)

dantz

join:2005-05-09
Honolulu, HI
reply to salzan
said by salzan:

Most irritating is that these decisions to remove/downgrade definitions are politically motivated. It has nothing to do with the adware/software in question cleaning up their act or suddenly turning over a new leaf.
I agree, and I am also very disappointed with Microsoft for doing such a thing. The whole situation is just another Hotbar as far as I'm concerned.

The purpose of an antispyware application is to root out deceptive software, but when it the program itself starts to behave in a deceptive manner it becomes a part of the problem.

This whole business of antispyware software giving free passes to "favored/feared" spyware is getting ridiculous. Microsoft, snap out of it!

eburger68
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-28
reply to eburger68
Hi All:

We're still looking into Microsoft's detections for Claria. It now appears that the Claria detections may have been downgraded some time ago -- perhaps as long as a month ago.

The timing is significant, obviously, because of the news regarding the reported talks between Claria and Microsoft. If this change to the default Recommended Action for the Claria detections occurred much earlier than we had initially assumed, then that would put the decision to downgrade in a somewhat different light.

Once I have more information, I'll be back to update you on what we know.

Best,

Eric L. Howes


iam x
Sungazer
Premium
join:2005-02-23

2 edits
reply to eburger68
thanks for making us aware eburger68.
that first screenshot speaks for itself....and i cant believe my eyes.

its the principle of the thing.

i assume M$ did put some programming effort into M$A$, and it worked very well, in my book, was superior in detection rates than Spysweeper.
i liked the fact that M$ kept{and still does} M$A$ free for its users. i thought that showed that MS did care about its users, and its own reputation.
i thought M$ was now on the users side, and that we could finally begin to trust them.

and now, when things were going great,after all these steps forward, they take this 'Giant' step backwards.

didnt they reflect for one second in their boardrooms, how the world would percieve this deal with Gator/Claria?

and what this would do to the trust that was beginning to build back up in them, thanks to the success of M$A$?

but they went ahead anyway.

guess it is all about the money after all.


CalamityJane
Premium,MVM
join:2002-08-27
Eustis, FL
kudos:8
reply to eburger68
said by eburger68:

Hi All:

We're still looking into Microsoft's detections for Claria. It now appears that the Claria detections may have been downgraded some time ago -- perhaps as long as a month ago.
The dates doesn't matter to me. There is no way to clarify how long they have been in "talks". It's been downgraded - period! Not good!

I'm feeling sick about this!
--
It takes a disaster to make a woman out of a female
Gladiator Security Forum
Proud Member of ASAP (Alliance of Security Analysis Professionals)


Epyon9283
Premium
join:2001-12-26
Trenton, NJ
reply to iam x
said by iam x:

i thought that showed that MS did care about its users, and its own reputation.
uhoh. Missed a possible use of $ :P


David
I start new work on
Premium,VIP
join:2002-05-30
Granite City, IL
kudos:101
reply to eburger68
I wonder if they are backing off due to legal pressure, but I would think microsoft could squash them.


dandelion
Premium,MVM
join:2003-04-29
Germantown, TN
kudos:5
reply to eburger68
I wonder what the next step will be, not to detect at all?


redxii
Premium,Mod
join:2001-02-26
Sherwood, MI
reply to David
said by David:

I wonder if they are backing off due to legal pressure, but I would think microsoft could squash them.
Glad you brought that up. That's most probable.

»Don't Call Gator 'Spyware'

Companies tend to try to squeeze money out of MS through lawsuits, frivolous or otherwise.
--
"If you like linux then use it otherwise stop preaching about linux we all already know about it and if we like it we'll use it. If you keep pestering people you look like those annoying Jehovah's witnesses... [..] with nothing better to do."


catseyenu
Ack Pfft
Premium
join:2001-11-17
Fix East

1 recommendation

reply to eburger68
Click for full size
Color it gone here.
PC Linux OS has been running great and I'm about to dump XP.
See ya, Billy boy.
--
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