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Microsoft Files Suits Against "Malvertisers"

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the prefix-of-the-hour dept.

Microsoft 205

eldavojohn writes "Reuters is bringing us news of five civil lawsuits filed by Microsoft against 'Soft Solutions,' 'Direct Ad,' 'qiweroqw.com,' 'ITmeter Inc,' and 'ote2008.info' that allege they 'used malvertisements to distribute malicious software or present deceptive websites that peddled scareware to unsuspecting Internet users.' Microsoft's Tim Cranton outlined the suits and provided links to all the filings for download. 'Cranton added that names of specific individuals behind these activities were not known and the lawsuits were being filed to help uncover the people responsible.'"

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Brain... locking... up... (3, Funny)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 4 years ago | (#29468933)

Shatnerian... levels... of... confusion...

Who... to... root... for... or... against...

Microsoft... or... the... malware... people...

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1, Funny)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#29468951)

The enemy of my enemy?

Nah!

I wish them joy of each other!

Re:Brain... locking... up... (5, Funny)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469407)

wish them joy of each other!

Anger is an aphrodesiac. The Malware companies have been seducing Microsoft for all this time, and now Microsoft has finally broken the ice. It's tsundere approach only quickens the heartbeat of the malware companies. Once Microsoft has them in court, the judge is throwing the book at them, the Malware companies will look up to Microsoft and say "You have me where you want me, now what do you want to do with me?"

At which point, Microsoft will smile, the fade of anger will reveal the flush of lust behind it. From the conjoining of these two, sweaty bodies of software production will emerge the glow of new life -- Microsoft Windows Lovechild.

The spawn of Microsoft and Malware will install itself upon any computer it comes in contact with. Lovechild (or MWL for short) will ask the user "You really want this installed on your system don't you?" If you type "N" it changes the background color to an alluring pink and says "Sometimes, when a user is scared, when they say 'no' they mean 'yes'" and then it proceeds to install itself upon your system.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (3, Funny)

jbezorg (1263978) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469647)

*backs away slowly*

Re:Brain... locking... up... (2)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469853)

I need a shower after reading that...
I don't think I will ever truly be clean again.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (0, Troll)

samcan (1349105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469007)

I have a bad feeling about this...

Re:Brain... locking... up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29469073)

Wrong franchise

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469047)

Well said.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (0, Troll)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469063)

It's a no brainer, there are two evils fighting.
One of them has some legal business, the other is purely illegal and harmful.
Choose the lesser evil.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (3, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469163)

One of them has some legal business, the other is purely illegal and harmful.
Choose the lesser evil.

Yeah, but I still have a hard time supporting the malware vendors.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469483)

Steve, is that you?

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470241)

Which one?

Re:Brain... locking... up... (3, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469175)

I don't entirely understand the fight though. Is MS suing these folks for damage done only to their company directly? Or possibly for some kind of defamation by making Windows appear insecure? Or are they suing on behalf of everyone affected by these ass-hats? Like a class-action thing on behalf of everyone with a computer?

Re:Brain... locking... up... (0)

superdana (1211758) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469575)

They're suing for "unjust enrichment and intentional interference with contractual relationships and business expectancies." They're additionally suing DirectAd for breach of contract and fraud. They claim that malvertisements and trojans were uploaded to their ad servers, that "scareware" sites use Microsoft trademarks illegally, and that Microsoft has suffered increased costs and harm to its reputation. They also say that DirectAd falsely claimed to represent a travel agency (featured in one of their malvertisements) when they placed ads with Microsoft.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (0)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469917)

"Is MS suing these folks for damage done only to their company directly? "

No, from TFA:

"Microsoft works vigilantly, using both technology and the law, to fight illegal activity that undermines people's trust in the Internet and online services."

But, it seems to me that if MS stopped working on superfluous bullshit, and concentrated on improving security, they might beat the malware people without ever going to court.

Yeah - security has improved with the release of Win7 - but give it time.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470007)

"superfluous bullshit"

Yes, because if they eliminated malware it would make Windows' vulnerabilities irrelevant and give users one less reason to switch to another OS. It's not really as if anyone cares about the users as long as they use the politically correct OS.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470125)

But, it seems to me that if MS stopped working on superfluous bullshit, and concentrated on improving security, they might beat the malware people without ever going to court.

I think Microsoft can afford to do both. Besides, perfect security may be achievable only if the end user is not physically allowed to install or run *anything* that MS haven't signed. Obviously that isn't going to work - and if MS allows users to install 3rd party apps that's where malware people come into play. Scare the user, offer a free remedy, and have him install and run your zombie!

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470229)

Suppose that they can afford to do both. Why haven't they done the latter?

Choices include, 1: don't want to 2: don't know how 3: don't understand the need to do so 4: no amount of money would be enough 5: it's more lucrative to sell unsecure systems

Add more choices, as you see fit. Maybe Ballmer will sign in here, to explain which if any choice is right.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (2, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470473)

  1. "don't want to" - this is not so, they made commitment to security several years ago and they removed all the insecure (and unsecurable) API calls from their software. For example, see this [microsoft.com] . Unfortunately strcpy is still alive and well in 3rd party products, and MS can't do much about that.
  2. "don't know how to" - may be true sometimes, Windows is complex and nobody actually understands all the interactions.
  3. "don't understand the need to do so" - this lawsuit clearly shows that at least now MS understands that their lack of security hurts them.
  4. "no amount of money would be enough" - recent releases of Windows were kind of OK, so I guess they already spent most of the needed money and achieved most of achievable results.
  5. "it's more lucrative to sell insecure systems" - MS doesn't sell systems, but it handles security incidents, often on its own dime.

I think the #2 is most important here. Windows is just too big to be fully understood. I'm sure there are tons of security-critical bugs in the code that is rarely used. It is very difficult to review and sanitize that code, especially if it "just works" and changes are likely to add bugs, not to reduce them. Additionally, more and more (percentage-wise) malware is distributed through social engineering, running .scr attachments, etc. - and that path is hard to close without going iPhone all the way.

In any case, the technical side of things is handled by one department and the legal side of things is handled by another department. I see no reason to pit them against each other. There are complaints about technical faults of the OS, but they should be addressed only to the development side of the house.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (3, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470343)

if MS stopped working on superfluous bullshit

Bullshit is not superfluous to MS.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470141)

Microsoft doesn't need any help at all in looking bad.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29469209)

It's a no brainer, there are two evils fighting.
One of them has some legal business, the other is purely illegal and harmful.
Choose the lesser evil.

Which one is which, again?

Re:Brain... locking... up... (0, Troll)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469377)

One of them has some legal business, the other is purely illegal and harmful.

We know that Microsoft is harmful and has been convicted of an illegal monopoly, but I thought that people have also been jailed for distributing malware before.

So, you'll have be be more specific than "one of them" and "the other."

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470035)

"We know that Microsoft is harmful and has been convicted of an illegal monopoly"

Well, now we know that you don't know the difference between criminal and civil law in the US.

No, this is easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29470725)

Support both in such a way as to make them equally powerful.

This increases the chances that they will destroy each other mutually.

Tagging this as 'irony' (0, Troll)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469079)

This is getting tagged 'irony'

Re:Brain... locking... up... (2, Interesting)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469117)

It's a no brainer for two reasons.

1. There are two evils fighting.
One of them has some legal business, the other is purely illegal and harmful.
Choose the lesser evil.

2. The malware people don't work to eradicate M$. So, if they 'win', it means both evils stay around.
M$ doesn't have much chance, but if they 'win', it means, one (or more) evil stops bothering us.
Choose the meaningful choice.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (-1, Offtopic)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470155)

Choose the lesser evil.

Isn't that how Bush and Obama got to be Presidents?

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1, Offtopic)

OwnedByTwoCats (124103) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470367)

No, the voters chose Gore over Bush. Even in Florida. Somehow, the greater evil took power anyway.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

h.ross.perot (1050420) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470391)

Choose the lesser evil.

Isn't that how Bush and Obama got to be Presidents?

Your not just whistling Dixie, there..

Re:Brain... locking... up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29470395)

Choose the lesser evil.

Isn't that how Bush and Obama got to be Presidents?

You're right. Choice can only lead to disaster. Dictatorship is the way to go.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29469151)

Must be hard casting everything as absolute good or evil.

Enjoy your cognitive dissonance. You may, in time, grow to have an intellectually mature point of view.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29469249)

Badly... have to... urinate....

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1, Flamebait)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469429)

What I see microsoft really doing is...

since microsoft can not (or will not) build secure operating systems and the operating systems they do produce has a long standing reputation of vulnerabilities they are going to sue the people that take advantage of the stupider customers of their products, so in the long run microsoft is just protecting the stupider customers proving microsoft likes stupid customers that do not tend to learn from their mistakes (whom are most likely the biggest part of their customer base)...

so it all boils down to the greedy protecting the stupid so the greedy can keep selling them poorly designed products...

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469567)

Your sig line is ironic in relation to your post.

The users aren't stupid if they are confused by what looks like a legitimate warning telling them to update their virus-scanner.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470167)

by sqrt(2)
"The most secure OS in the world, not even Linux nor OSX, isn't going to be able to protect you when you decide to authorize and run an .exe file you downloaded."

Question. Since I've never had one single flying lesson in my life, would you say I was stupid if I got into a Learjet, only to crash and burn? Or, if someone who had never been in a tractor trailer decided to jump in and drive one - would he be stupid when he drove it off the side of a mountain?

I say, operating something that you are not qualified to operate is indeed a sign of stupidity. As sqrt points out, no amount of security will protect clueless.

Malware has been talked about in every major news outlet in the world. Only the braindead can be unaware of the risks of downloading executables from untrusted sites.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (5, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469609)

You can blame "insecurity" of Windows all you want, but do you actually have an answer to how to make it better then? Before all the usual arguments come:

- These malware work just aswell on user account, you do not need admin/root access.
- Locking up the whole OS so that user is in 100% controlled environment is a no go, as seeing here on slashdot about iphone and other systems that do it.
- Malware goes where the user is. If linux had ~95% marketshare on desktops, majority of malware would be there because thats where the users are.
- Theres nothing on Linux that does anything to prevent this kind of malware - you only get more security because there's not many users. If you suggest everyone moving to it, what happens?
- Conficker excluded, theres not really exploits in the Windows itself now a days. They're mostly from third party software like Flash and PDF reader.

This isn't about OS security, its about user stupidity to install random crap. That wouldn't change even if the OS marketshare would be different.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (-1, Redundant)

OwnedByTwoCats (124103) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470303)

Incorrect on so many points.

Malware does not go where the users are in other environments, it goes where the ease of exploiting vulnerabilities and the size of the market make it worthwhile. Apache is more popular than IIS, yet IIS has more discovered and exploited vulnerabilities.

A secure OS would make sure that all code downloaded from the net is identified to the user as code downloaded from the net and its source/publisher, and a secure OS does not allow the downloaded code to execute until after the user has acknowledged that it is a downloaded program and given explicit permission.

If you exclude all malware/exploits on Microsoft operating systems, Microsoft makes the most secure operating systems, because there are, by definition, no malware/exploits.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (3, Insightful)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470331)

Actually the Conficker hole was patched nearly a year ago. Microsoft has gotten their shit together with security so much recently that you can legitimately argue that it may be comparable to your average Linux distro...I'm not saying that is the case, I REALLY do not want to go down that path, my overall point is that 5 years ago, anyone who made the statement I just did would have been ridiculed as a moron, and rightly so.

But you hit very good points...no matter how secure an OS is, it has to listen to its dumbfuck user. The only way to protect against stupid users is to limit rights to oblivion, but then you limit the usefulness of the system. In most cases, the OS cannot determine what is desired behavior of a program or not.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470415)

- These malware work just aswell on user account, you do not need admin/root access.

I believe that is mostly, if not entirely correct. Obviously, there is a design flaw in security; a user account should never be capable of screwing up system files and system settings. Period.

- Malware goes where the user is. If linux had ~95% marketshare on desktops, majority of malware would be there because thats where the users are.
- Theres nothing on Linux that does anything to prevent this kind of malware - you only get more security because there's not many users. If you suggest everyone moving to it, what happens?

That is speculation, opinion, and FUD. Unix like systems are simply not prone to the types of exploits that Windows has always been wide open to. (ActiveX for example) It's easy to imagine that malware writers would shift to Linux, but Linux' response would be to write patches after patches, and shut each exploit down as it was exposed.

- Conficker excluded, theres not really exploits in the Windows itself now a days. They're mostly from third party software like Flash and PDF reader.

If that were entirely true, then the same exploits would work on Linux. I don't see that - can you provide any citations?

- Locking up the whole OS so that user is in 100% controlled environment is a no go, as seeing here on slashdot about iphone and other systems that do it.

Unix like OS's have set the example. Establish trusted repositories for software. TRUSTED repositories, not a bazaar type place where just everyone can put software. Publish everywhere possible all the information about those trusted repositories, and how to use them. Make it unequivocally clear that software from sources outside of those repositories is VERY HIGH RISK!!!

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470423)

It's actually pretty simple to get most of the way there:

  • The entire OS is write protected.
  • No code allowed in the kernel unless signed by a key from a company whose key is signed by the OS vendor, with a command-line software switch to disable the check for geeks who want to tinker, confident in the knowledge that people are more terrified of the command line than they are of anything else, including malware.
  • All applications and plug-ins must be self-contained bundles of files. No outside helpers may be installed anywhere.
  • Code outside an application or plug-in bundle is not executable except while the "I'm a geek/coder" switch mentioned above is set.
  • All applications and plug-ins must be signed unless the "I'm a geek flag" is set.
  • All applications and plug-ins immediately become write protected upon drop. The kernel must ensure that the drop operation is atomic from the perspective of applications.
  • Applications and plug-ins must use a system-provided service for self-updating, and must include a list of valid source domains in a property list within the app or plug-in bundle to prevent plug-ins from being able to masquerade as the app and overwrite it.
  • A central plug-in manager UI should show each application and what plug-ins are installed, allowing you to enable and disable them at will.
  • The plug-in manager must not use any APIs whose behavior can be altered by any system-level plug-in.
  • All applications that support plug-ins must provide a matching dictionary to indicate the type of plug-ins it supports. Plug-ins must provide a matching dictionary to indicate the services they vend. An OS-provided service then provides a list of matching plug-ins to the application upon request, and tells the application which plug-ins the user has enabled/disabled.
  • A plug-in shall be disabled until explicitly enabled by the user in the plug-in manager. The application may, however, open a URI that brings up the correct pane in the PIM to simplify the user experience.
  • All background daemons and cron jobs must be manually enabled by the user.
  • All reads and writes to user files (all files outside of the preferences or caches folders) can only occur after the file is opened through a standard file dialog, and only until the application closes the file.
  • All applications must provide a list of exported symbols against which a plug-in can link. Access to other symbols will fail.
  • All plug-ins should be run out of process by marshaling the exported function calls across IPC. Attempts to read arbitrary pointers will fail. The OS should provide an mallocForPlugIn() function to allocate a memory region shared with plug-ins.

With those relatively minor changes, arbitrary code execution bugs (unless you can find a vulnerability in a system service that runs as root) can only succeed in destroying any currently open user file, and can neither permanently inflict harm on the OS or apps, nor persist after the app quits in any significant form. And to the extent that malware could cause harm by tricking the user into installing a system-level plug-in that causes bad behavior, removing such malware would require at most one click in the plug-in manager. At that point, 99.999% of the malware problem goes away. Sadly, these ideas are pretty similar to the ones I came up with when I was still in elementary school. They're beyond obvious....

Re:Brain... locking... up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29470933)

All reads and writes to user files (all files outside of the preferences or caches folders) can only occur after the file is opened through a standard file dialog, and only until the application closes the file.

This would stop command line programs that work on files - unless you also allow any file listed on the command line (either directly or globbed) to also be opened by the application.

Personally I think the system that NetBSD offers of allowing the kernel to refuse to run any application that doesn't have a matching hash in a secure list to be a better bet.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470909)

Theres nothing on Linux that does anything to prevent this kind of malware - you only get more security because there's not many users.

"This kind of malware" is scareware. Scareware is software that claims you've been infected, probably through a software exploit, and that you need to install their software to fix the problem. It's social engineering. To that end, if Linux had significant market share, 99.999%* of installed software would come through a distribution's package management system. Ie, virtually all software installed would be vetted by a distribution.

Microsoft's problem, as it were, is that they don't vet software. This includes not only run of the mill software but also anti-malware software. As a result, people in the Windows world are left to fend for themselves when it comes to finding and installing anti-malware software. If Linux had significant market share, it's quite possible that there'd be more malware released for Linux. However, anti-malware would be vetted and be a part of most Linux distributions as well.

Ie, scareware websites couldn't work except on true idiots because people would know that on a Linux platform, downloading and installing programs off websites is dangerous and unnecessary. Windows users probably will never be able to have the same sentiment because there's no one in the Windows world that can be trusted to vet software. Microsoft has too much of a vested interest in their own software, and virtually no other company is in a position to withstand lawsuits when malware gets through. I'm not sure how immune Linux distributions would be in the same circumstance, but I think they'd be legally safer giving away the software for free.

*The number would be 100% for almost everyone, but people who still compiled things (and idiots) would drag down the average.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (3, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469615)

The most secure OS in the world, not even Linux nor OSX, isn't going to be able to protect you when you decide to authorize and run an .exe file you downloaded.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (2, Informative)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470145)

Really [lwn.net] ?

Re:Brain... locking... up... (2, Informative)

OwnedByTwoCats (124103) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470465)

I don't believe you can run an .exe file on Linux or MacOSX. You can only do that in Windows.

MacOSX tells me whenever I ask it to run a file downloaded from the net for the first time. The OS needs to get in the user's face a little, because downloaded executables carry risks that executables installed from local media do not.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (3, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469973)

You know, I think you need more perspective on this.

It's not the insecurity of Windows, it's the Insecurity of all these third party plugins (JAVASCRIPT, FLASH, I'M LOOKING AT YOU) that cause these problems to start with, plus DRM rootkits on music discs and movies that open up more holes in our system.

New technology, new vulnerabilities and exploits. Flash and JavaScript are the two most commonly used points of infection.

Really, the fault isn't entirely on Microsoft. Start blaming Adobe, Sun Systems, and the Music/Movie industry, as the biggest part of this lies squarely upon their shoulders.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (2, Funny)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470083)

"since microsoft can not (or will not) build secure operating systems"

MS could build a more secure OS than Windows but nobody would buy it because they want to run Windows apps.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470171)

What I see microsoft really doing is...

since microsoft can not (or will not) build secure operating systems and the operating systems ... so it all boils down to the greedy protecting the stupid so the greedy can keep selling them poorly designed products...

Personally I could see Microsoft just doing this so nobody notices that they're drowing baby kittens for fun. I mean it's easy to picture, right?

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470491)

the problem here is that Microsoft's best customers, those clueless fools who fall for these malvertisements are the same people who will get sick of paying over $200 a shot to have someone fix their computer and after 2 or 3 times will jump ship to the Mac. I've already seen this so I can see why this has Microsoft concerned.

These computer illiterates are the same people who just keeping using what is preloaded and what's on retail store shelves because they are already afraid of the computer and their only comfort is that they know what a few icons look like on Windows so they don't want to look at anything else. But when their computers keep falling to pieces and they keep hearing more and more about Apple and even hear things about this stuff called Linux, they find that cutting their losses and getting a Mac isn't so scary because they already have an iPod and others around them might have a Mac too. Linux might be around them but it's more likely buried so they don't know it or the geeks running it are not hanging out or talking about it to these neophytes.

I also wonder if the problem doesn't have something to do with selling advertising on BING and Microsoft's inability to figure out a way to block the bad stuff. Microsoft wants to use multimedia based ads while Google sticks to the simple text base ads which are tough to use to scare people with.

whatever happens it doesn't really bother me since those getting suckered into getting their systems whacked need an education one way or another so I could care less if Microsoft succeeds at this. Just as long as bandwidth stays high enough to still get stuff done.

LoB

Re:Brain... locking... up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29469435)

Three words: Mutually Assured Destruction!

Re:Brain... locking... up... (0, Troll)

AnRkey (1330615) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469501)

Who cares....? The only reason that anyone has to be sued at all in the first place is due to the fact that badly written software has no other defense these days.... MS is getting the courts to do it's dirty work and it's probably cheaper than just writing better software. Coporations eh?

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469541)

I'm often modded down for trashing Microsoft, most of whose whose products and business practices I don't like, but in this case I'm cheering them on.

'scuse me, the phone's ringing...

It was Satan, she invited me to go skiing with her in her back yard. IN HELL.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1, Insightful)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469671)

You get modded down for trash talking MS? On which web forums? Certainly not slashdot. Getting Karma Excellente' is assured by trash talking MS.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470013)

You get modded down for trash talking MS? On which web forums? Certainly not slashdot.

Yes, you may get modded down on /. for trash talking MS. It's happened to me multiple times. It depends on the topic -- in some topics, one can trash talk MS with impunity, in others the MS supporters will use their mod points against you.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470979)

Getting excellent karma is assured by being insightful and informative, as well as getting stories posted to the front page. If you have excellent karma you don't have to worry about the occasional downmod.

Hell, I've been modded down for dissing Sony, of all people.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (4, Insightful)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469599)

If you can't choose a side in this, you're being disingenuous. Just stop it, and for once make sense.

Your only real complaint should be that the Department of Justice, multiple state Attorneys General, or motiviated citizens haven't already pursued these civil actions. And the DoJ etc. should be considering crminal actions, but are no doubt distracted by any number of safer, simpler, and easier to prosecute villains.

There is simply no excuse for going after the worst of these weasels, and expanding the fight overseas when they flee to supposed safe havens. I wish Microsoft good hunting on this one. Let's get after them to patch XP's TCP stack also, but at least DO SOMETHING, someone, please?

Me? I'm no good at suits.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469607)

The action here is simple. The enemy of my enemy is temporarily my friend. M$ go get them or better yet fix your damn security. The last few days have spun some heads, that's for sure.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470047)

Computer doesn't compute.
Generator doesn't gen.
Battery doesn't bat.
Pistons don't work either.

--

We do not repeat gossip, so listen carefully.

Re:Brain... locking... up... (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470843)

Microsoft products are lame compared to industry averages, and they use network effects to cause their lack of quality to not harm their marketshare. In other words, they're evil -- but it's a limited sort of evil. It's not like they 're shredding puppies. All they have done is retard progress in the computer industry, and perhaps (though unlikely) the computer state of the art.

Whenever Microsoft is in court, though, I almost always root for them. Microsoft fucks with (or more often: gets fucked by) companies that are even more evil than them. [wikipedia.org]

Now I just have to figure out why Microsoft thinks they have any standing to go after malware. But then I guess they have an office full of computers and unfortunately for them, they do eat their own dog food, so maybe all their computers got infected or something.

Microsoft Up to Something Good? (2, Insightful)

gpronger (1142181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29468955)

I suspect the the main hurdle will be at getting the individuals behind the businesses. Must admit that this is the first time I've read about this approach to malware distribution, but I may simply be out of the loop.

Greg

Re:Microsoft Up to Something Good? (5, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29468987)

I suspect the main hurdle here will be the court clerk reading "qiweroqw.com" aloud.

Kee-weh-roh-koo dot com (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469491)

I suspect the main hurdle here will be the court clerk reading "qiweroqw.com" aloud.

Kee-weh-roh-koo dot com, until corrected by a reputable witness. Perhaps some people who are linguistic Americans[1] might have trouble, but anyone exposed to other languages will try sounding out a word in all known languages at once, plus IPA notation.

[1] In the sense of the old joke: The word for understanding three languages is trilingual, two languages is bilingual, one language is American.

Re:Microsoft Up to Something Good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29469177)

Must admit that this is the first time I've read about this approach to malware distribution, but I may simply be out of the loop.

Yes,you are out of the loop. Or you were. Looks like you might be coming back into the loop, now that you know. I've known this was going on since 2004 or so.

Re:Microsoft Up to Something Good? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29469313)

You know who's in the loop? Apple. Their address is 1, Infinite Loop.

Re:Microsoft Up to Something Good? (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469351)

Unless you've been browsing with Ad-block for as long as you can remember, I would be very surprised if you haven't come across those annoying "Scan your computer" or "Your computer is infected, click here to repair!" banner ads. There used to be pop-up message boxes with them a lot too, and they have been around for as long as I can remember.

This is a great idea! (5, Insightful)

tetsukaze (1635797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469049)

These activties hurt Microsoft's reputation as well as being a huge burden to users of their products. Microsoft has the money and power to put the hurt on the bad guys. This is win win.

If you don't give the Godfather his cut... (2, Funny)

TheBilgeRat (1629569) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469083)

He gets cranky.

This seems simillar... (1)

hbean (144582) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469101)

...to the time blizzard sued several of the largest WoW gold farmers. Here's hoping it works better lol.

Re:This seems simillar... (2, Informative)

Colonel Sponsz (768423) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469859)

...to the time blizzard sued several of the largest WoW gold farmers. Here's hoping it works better lol.

While my feelings towards the parent post may be colored by the Pavlovian hatred I feel every time someone uses "lol" as a word in a sentence, how are they in any way similar?

Let's compare the two:
a) Committing fraud to compromise people's computers, violating their privacy and potentially exposing them to such risks as identity theft or credit card theft.
b) Selling gold in an online RPG, causing no direct harm to anyone.

And unlike Blizzard who went after a bot creator through a ridulous copyright claim [wikipedia.org] that should have been thrown out of court at first glance, Microsoft is fully in the right here.

About time (1)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469127)

After these fuckers spending years creating malware that specifically target's microsoft products, I say: ITS ABOUT FUCKING TIME. Go microsoft!

Ads With Fake Virus Scan Alerts (1)

WebmasterNeal (1163683) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469317)

I didn't RTFA, but who does? Anyway when I saw the description it instantly reminded me of those ads that pretend to popup a textbox stating that you have a virus.

What do we know about these "Advertisers"? (1)

LitelySalted (1348425) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469327)

The article linked in the topic doesn't have very many details about who or what these companies are.
I imagine that the majority of Malware sources are from some overseas nation (Russian derivatives most likely) and that filing these suits probably will go no where.

It is possible this is just a Microsoft publicity stunt designed to deter these kinds of businesses from propagating.

As a Mac user, I say go Microsoft go! (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469345)

Less malware = less infected Windows boxes = less useless traffic on the internet.

Linux users should applaud this too.

Of course BSD users can't applaud, because Netcraft confirmed they're dying.

Re:As a Mac user, I say go Microsoft go! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29469649)

BSD users can't applaud because the linux app hasn't been ported yet.

Warning: unwarrented personal attack (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470143)

True, but they could still get the clap from RMS.

Re:As a Mac user, I say go Microsoft go! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29469783)

As a Mac user
Of course BSD users can't applaud

Brain hurting *cough* freebsd *cough* osx based on next/freebsd *cough*

Re:As a Mac user, I say go Microsoft go! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29469993)

You can't run Mac OS X programs on plain BSD.

Standing? (1)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469347)

Aside from customers perhaps decided to jump ship to a more secure OS, was Microsoft actually wronged in any direct sense here? Wouldn't they have to organize a class action for this to go anywhere?

Re:Standing? (1)

drosboro (1046516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469725)

Why do you need anything aside customers jumping ship from MS's OS? Seems to me that's grounds enough for a suit right there.

Re:Standing? (1)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470417)

Why do you need anything aside customers jumping ship from MS's OS? Seems to me that's grounds enough for a suit right there.

I was making the assertion in a sort of tongue in cheek way. Not only is it indirect and difficult to prove, it would also make for an altogether incredibly pathetic PR stunt. I'm questioning their intent to actually follow through with this beyond a fishing expedition.

Re:Standing? (2, Interesting)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470305)

Wouldn't they have to organize a class action for this to go anywhere?

Probably not. This sounds like tortious interference to me. The theory is that Microsoft's interests are damaged by a third party interfering in its relationship with its customers. When it comes to calculating damages there are all sorts of theories you could use. As you say, any would probably start with lost customers, but you can also look at higher support costs, reduced sale of upgrades (moving to a non-MS OS is not necessary for MS to lose profits), stymied growth in market share, etc.

Of course, if we're interested in the consumers' remedies, that's a whole different can of worms. They couldn't sue for tortious interference (probably) because they're not the ones engaged in the relevant business activities. But they might be able to bring other causes of action (in fraud, for example). They could sue individually, but if they want to get a big shot lawyer involved they would need to go for a class action so there's a bigger lump payout to take fees out of.

(IANAL, but I am a law student. I am not competent to give real legal advice.)

Re:Standing? (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470317)

I heard you like italics...

why they are doing this (2, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469401)

Other stories have demonstrated that someone at Microsoft has finally recognized the threat of cloud computing. The apps which most people use today don't require Windows; they just require a browser. Since browsers are available on Linux and Apple systems, and these systems aren't plagued by the horrible malware situation of Windows, Microsoft has no choice but to attempt to clean up the malware situation. The alternative is a situation in which everyone who can get what they need from the cloud will have a strong incentive to move to MacOS or Linux.

Re:why they are doing this (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469749)

Are you trolling for an "Insightful?"

Re:why they are doing this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29469867)

Do you know what the word "trolling" means?

Re:why they are doing this (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470207)

I'm not much into angling.

Re:why they are doing this (1)

mldi (1598123) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470089)

Other stories have demonstrated that someone at Microsoft has finally recognized the threat of cloud computing. The apps which most people use today don't require Windows; they just require a browser. Since browsers are available on Linux and Apple systems, and these systems aren't plagued by the horrible malware situation of Windows, Microsoft has no choice but to attempt to clean up the malware situation. The alternative is a situation in which everyone who can get what they need from the cloud will have a strong incentive to move to MacOS or Linux.

Not so sure how much influence "cloud computing" will really have on consumers, especially businesses. Either way though, this is a good strategy for M$.

Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29470137)

The really odd thing here is the thought of cloud computing 'helping' Linux while at the same time hurting the FSF/RMS.

Re:why they are doing this (2, Interesting)

pdabbadabba (720526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470441)

I don't know if you're trolling or not, but I think you're almost certainly correct (and, btw, that your -1 Troll mod probably isn't fair). Though bear in mind that MS has always had an incentive to clean up the malware situation proportional to the risk of its customers defecting to another OS. The threat of cloud computing to them just cranks up the risk, and thus the incentive. Whether or not it definitively tipped the scales in this case is hard to know - maybe they would have gone ahead with this 5 years ago if their lawyers told them they could win - but I'm sure it had some effect.

slashdotted (1)

karlanm (1623467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469691)

Darn it, qiweroqw.com got slashdotted, I just got my resume ready too!

Still scanning (2, Funny)

downright (1625607) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469801)

Hang on a minute... I want to comment but the original article is scanning my hard drive for viruses and I'm afraid of what might happen if I press back... better let finish to be safe.

a big laugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29469823)

When visiting these sites you'll see a fake virus scan on your machine, your local C drive infected, a lot of malware in each dir, sounds silly but when I see them I laugh all the time....

because I've a Linux box :-)
A colleague of mine was even scared and he told me: "hey watch out, your computer is infected", I've replied : "nice warning but this is not the operating system you're looking for (StarWars), I'm using linux !"

Huh? Malware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29469863)

I always run windows as a limited user , Malware has attacked me before, it wasn't allowed to be installed. Is this just me ? or is everyone who runs as administrator on the internet just crazy?.
In fact sometimes messages in my event log document the refusal something like insufficient permissions to install blah blah

Malicious Advertising? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29469989)

My definition of malicious advertising is, perhaps, different from most. To me, nearly all advertising these days are a nuisance, a bother and do not show adequate respect for my eyes or my attention. I recall the earliest days of advertising on the internet and how angry it made people back then. It wasn't nearly as bad as it is now and look at how passive people have become toward it. (I guess it is rather like taxation... the tax rates and practices that lead to the U.S. Revolutionary War were nothing compared to what we have today.)

I haven't yet read about what "grounds" these suits are being filed on. The public is harmed by the type of fraud these advertisers are perpetrating... not Microsoft... not directly. It does seem to weaken Microsoft's reputation for security and stability a bit, but no more than they do to themselves.

I hope Microsoft takes the "antibiotic" approach to the problem and kills them ALL. If you don't the survivors will come back stronger and harder to kill. Then we will have "super-lawsuit-resistant-malware-advertisers."

I hope MS wins. (2, Funny)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470183)

I could not be more tired of phone calls from family, friends, and even colleagues that begin with a breathless version of "Hey I need your help I think my computer is totally virus infected I got this warning the other day that I had 2342384 viruses in all these folders and did I want to install a free tool to clean them up and I said okay and it installed but I think I was too slow because now my computer is really slow and keeps doing strange things and I get all of these porn popups?!?! I wish I had clicked yes to automatically download and install it faster, but I clicked yes as fast as I could what should I do now nothing is working and these naked lady popups just keep coming!!!!!?"

Notice to /. of Intellectual Property Infringement (1, Funny)

srobert (4099) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470263)

The words "malvertise", "malvertisement", "malvertising", and similar variants are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Slashdot's use of these words in this posting and accompanying comments are an infringement of Microsoft's intellectual property. Please remove all references to these words from this website, pending consideration for further action by our legal department.
Thank You.
Chairman, Bill Gates
  and "Flying Chair Man", Steve Balmer

Lawsuits are not enough (1)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470389)

Microsoft should hire some hitmen and have them whacked.

Malvertisements! (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470677)

...used malvertisements ...that peddled scareware...

I'm sick of these malvertisements peddling scareware, crapulizing the comfuser's failurating system. It's just not cromulent.

M.A.D. (1)

mcamino (970752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29470703)

Microsoft Vs Malware writers is like Megashark vs Octopus. [imdb.com] In the end they both will destroy eachother so lets rejoice at this battle both sides will not win.
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