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MIT Startup Tests Top Million Sites for Spyware

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the ads-burning-need-spybot dept.

243

torrentami writes "An MIT startup called SiteAdvisor has downloaded over 100,000 programs from the top million Web sites and tested them for adware and spyware using an automated system they've built. They've got a blog entry where they dissect 5 of the worst adware bundles they found. There is some amazingly invasive stuff in there."

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fuck them evil niggers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473562)

may they all rott in hell, long live community college

lame (0, Troll)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473564)

in soviet russia, adware dissects YOU!

What about the rest? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473573)

I hope they have a "submit site" function for people to test random sites....

Re:What about the rest? (4, Interesting)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473801)

That is a really good idea. Better yet, have a browser component that tells users, on the fly, what previous attempts at scanning the site have revealed (as they would have to be cached in order to have any sort of performance server-side). If a user notices that a site now offers spyware downloads, they could request that it get reexamined, and popular sites would get automatically reexamined often. This could be done using a cheap subscription model.

Has someone done this? It seems so obvious now that I've thought about it.

Re:What about the rest? (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473813)

Sorry, didn't realize that the company named was doing this as I couldn't access their Slashdotted server.

Re:What about the rest? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473880)

I am in iraq and it sucks. However, I will be home soon and EAS shortly thereafter.

FUCK 2/2

Re:What about the rest? (1)

RemovableBait (885871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473935)

While that doesn't seem to be available yet, you can submit a download link for them to analyse. Just search for an existant site and click 'Submit a download'.

I think they'll probably implement your idea (which is damn good in my opinion) once it leaves 'Preview' stages.

The major lesson of all this. (4, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473576)

The one major lesson we can take from their research is that we should probably not be using Windows.

When you consider how many alternatives (often far cheaper, too) are available, it's a wonder that so many still choose to use software that leaves their systems wide open to exploitation, be it from worms, viruses, or malicious websites.

But perhaps a secondary lesson is that we need to keep an ever-strong vigil. It's perhaps even our duty as computer-competent individuals to inform others of these issues. Not to preach to them, by any means, but do let those less-astute computer users know what is going on. Advise them that such problems exist, and tell them how to avoid such malicious software.

We can easily defeat the problem of spyware. But it will involve people helping each other out. Soon enough the ignorance will fall by the wayside, and we will all be better off.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473586)

Can you please migrate my parents MS Money2005 file to Linux somehow?

Re:The major lesson of all this. (4, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473589)

I disagree.

Windows is, by far, the most insecure operating system out there. It is also the operating system that users find the easiest to use, and it is also the operating system that (in my opinion) has the most flexibility for programmers and software corporations of all sizes.

While the *nix varieties are definitely more secure (as they are now), a switch to *nix will not lead us to less spyware-ridden applications online. In fact, if Windows were to fail commercially tomorrow and everyone runs *nix, you'll see spyware applications be written for these OSes immediately.

*nix does not mean secure. It just isn't popular enough for spyware programmers to target, yet. Give it time, I think as it gains popularity, it will begin to be a target for the software companies that try to enter and dissect your life digitally.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (2)

firl (907479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473606)

this is true, but this is the kick when you wanna do something as a user in unix, you can, but when a program is able to have more access to your own computer (spyware) then you do, thats when I think *nix will be better.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (5, Insightful)

BushCheney08 (917605) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473624)

In fact, if Windows were to fail commercially tomorrow and everyone runs *nix, you'll see spyware applications be written for these OSes immediately.

Agreed. Especially when you consider that all of the programs in TFA were installed after the user clicked the "I Agree" button five, six, seven times. The OS could be totally secure and only allow the installed apps to affect the logged-in user. They'll still be there annoying that one user, though, since the user is the one who said it was okay to put them there. This is where informing the user comes in. And the user has already shown many times over that they don't care to be informed. This sort of crap is gonna be around for a long long time...

I disagree (2, Insightful)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473657)

Mr. Softy targets the dumb mean of the user distribution, +/- a couple of standard deviants on either side.
The *nix philosophy requires a great deal more learning on the part of the user.
Education can't stop a quality cock-up, but it certainly filters a great deal of blatant boo-boos, like coughing up a root password to www.passwordstorage.com.

Similar (5, Informative)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473802)

Education is certainly the key.

I've been using the HOST file supplied by <URL :http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm > the Microsoft MVPS site for the past few years and have not had ANY spyware or Malware or viruses on any of my machines.

I still run ad-aware and spybot monthly and never see anything but a few cookies.  Once every few weeks I update my HOSTS file and then set it to read-only again and  the 10,000 or so sites it blocks are just that - blocked.

Web sites load faster too without some of the tracked ad sites loading.  From time to time I get pages that aren't found.....but I can review these as the HOST file is of course text.

I really do not know why HOST files are not a more common theme on here when setting one up on your Dad's computer saves you from removing crap from it as a hobby.

Re:I disagree (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473889)

"The *nix philosophy requires a great deal more learning on the part of the user."

Come on, how many person are really interesting into 'learning', to simply use a computer. The average user buys a computer for a limited subset of functionalities : read mail, access website, read company memo, 'get' some media or for more advanced users do some image-editing.

Since computer have become mainstream product, nobody is interested into learning its inner-working anymore. The cool factor is over. That happened before with TV set, radio, car. Damn, do you know anybody not directly in the business that buys TV Set schematics or that replace all the capasitors of his radio to get beter signal ? Back several years ago you would have found quite a lot.

And anyway, what's the point? Going to a 'harder' but 'safer' OS will change nothing. Basically whatever a user can do, that can be exploited. Simple example, how many person still leave their door open even after millenia of burglary ?
With a very complex a tool like a multipurpose computer, the most scary is the problem.

I fear that rather going into a Linux/Whatever beter OS, big companies, selling mainstream product will use the 'time of fear under windows factor' to promote an apparantly simpler solution, like say, sony PSP/PS3 filled-up with DRM, communicating on private encrypted/approved network or google like thin-client applications running on a lockup machine accessing a subset of 'safe' (i.e. profitable ) internet.

No reason to be vulnerable to spyware. (5, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473628)

Have you tried the recent Kubuntu releases? If not, give it a try. It is by far one of the most easiest systems to install these days. Even easier to keep up to date, as well.

I was recently asked to set up some computer systems at a seniors home. Now, many of these people have never used a PC. So we were able to acquire several used PCs for almost no cost, and I installed Kubuntu on their systems. We got them set up so that they could check their email, browse the WWW, use various instant messengers to chat with relatives, and even play games (bridge and backgammon were big favourites).

Now, why did I go with Kubuntu? Mainly because it is free, and it is quality software that is quite easy to use. But more importantly, I wanted these systems to always be available to these people. I know that they might visit malicious sites. I wouldn't want that resulting in their systems being compromised just because of that.

You may deny it, but the fact of the matter is that Linux systems won't get infected with spyware at this time. Sure, that may change in the future, but I'm doubtful about that. The basic (yet significant) differences in code quality and architecture are enough to leave Linux (and other non-Microsoft) systems far more secure and usable, even in the fact of malicious software.

Re:No reason to be vulnerable to spyware. (2, Insightful)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473692)

>I was recently asked to set up some computer systems at a seniors home.

Thats great. What happens when they go to Wal-Mart and want to buy some software?

Or when they want to hook up their brand-spanking new digital camera/mp3 player/PDA?

Lots of people are more bleed-edge than seniors.

>You may deny it, but the fact of the matter is that Linux systems won't get infected with spyware at this time. Sure, that may change in the future, but I'm doubtful about that.

You don't need a better code to prevent spyware, you need better users. Better system design/code will never beat out a user, unless the design is involves cutting the power to the computer.

Re:No reason to be vulnerable to spyware. (2, Interesting)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473702)

You don't need a better code to prevent spyware, you need better users. Better system design/code will never beat out a user, unless the design is involves cutting the power to the computer.

So damn true. As Rich Cook once said:

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.

Re:No reason to be vulnerable to spyware. (4, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473719)

I advised them not to buy software from WalMart, or even to download it for themselves. I asked them to contact me, and I'd come over and find something that worked for them. I know I could find software that I know I could trust, or at least have access to the source code to inspect and build myself if I felt there could be security problems. Then again, Kubuntu includes all the software they seem to need.

I haven't heard anything from them regarding cameras and other devices which did not work. I did, however, hear of one grandson bringing over his camera and taking pictures of the seniors so they could email them to their relatives. One of the grandparents who had some PC experience as a secretary told me that she was really surprised how easy it was to get the camera to work. All they did was plug it in, and the storage device on the camera was automatically mounted. They could copy over the files without problem. The kid was reportedly stunned that the seniors could use the system so effectively.

Insult inexperienced users all you want. Frankly, I think that a well-designed system can easily avoid the problems caused by unwitting users. Indeed, any quality software system would be designed in such a way as to completely minimize the harm that an inexperienced user could do. Linux and much open source software appears to do this quite well, and as such spyware just isn't a problem when dealing with Linux systems.

Re:No reason to be vulnerable to spyware. (0)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473824)

>I advised them not to buy software from WalMart, or even to download it for themselves. I asked them to contact me, and I'd come over and find something that worked for them.

Thats a wonderful solution. What about people who don't have 24/7 access to you? And did you really go through all the code in the Linux kernal/OpenOffice/Firefox/Thunderbird?

>I think that a well-designed system can easily avoid the problems caused by unwitting users.

A well-designed anything can do anything. (Can't do it? It just simply needs to be better designed!). I have yet to see this magical beast. Linux is not it (since linux rootkits exists or user logs into root then rm -fr / everthing since he needs more diskspace.).

Re:No reason to be vulnerable to spyware. (1)

God_Retired (44721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473920)

You are just being an asshat. Linux works. So does everything else, really. My grandma uses Windows. I don't care. All she does is email, print some crap out and type up things.

I could easily set up her system with linux which could do what she wants. I may soon as it has recently started to slow down due to all the windows crap that get installed when she surfs around. But if she really just wants the same thing, I will try a little more to clean it out or just re-install. Not that big of a deal. She is 89 years old, for what that's worth.

To sit back and say that this would be anything other than a good thing is just ridiculous. Crawl back into whatever the fuck hole you crawled out of. Your obvious ignorance of the useability of a modern Gnu/Linux system is so glaring I can't really focus on anything else you are writing.

camera, pda, mp3, better users?!?! (2, Informative)

SpectralDesign (921309) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473873)

Or when they want to hook up their brand-spanking new digital camera/mp3 player/PDA?

I'm running Ubuntu (Well, Edubuntu, for my son's edification) and I have no problems connecting and utilizing my digital cameras, mp3 players, and PDAs.... It's time to crawl out from under that rock there, dude.

You don't need a better code to prevent spyware, you need better users. Better system design/code will never beat out a user, unless the design is involves cutting the power to the computer.

Actually, much of the security of linux comes with the fact that a) filesystem permission structure is more robust than any Windows FS, and b) that you don't generally log in as root (administrator to you Windows folks) to do the day-to-day operating of the system... as a matter of fact, I've never logged in as root on this system... At most, I'll use sudo for things like installing or configuring firewalls, and then resume my regular privileges.

Re:No reason to be vulnerable to spyware. (1)

netsharc (195805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473912)

Actually, digital cameras work "out of the box" in my Ubuntu installation, yeah it's bloat, but it seems to have all the drivers for different protocols that the cameras use to talk via USB. As for MP3 players or PDA's, they're seniors, I don't see it happening. :) MP3 players are usually just USB-disks anyway, and Ubuntu with its hotplug system can also detect and mount them automatically.

Re:No reason to be vulnerable to spyware. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473826)

Sorry man, but your talking out of your ass. Coming from nearly 11 months of SuSE 9.2-10.0 use, the Kubuntu 5.10 install I did this week was definitely a major stepbackwards in terms of ease and usability.

1) For starters, the install is ugly and while it won't push off new users what's the harm in making it look usable? It's uglier than the Windows 2000 installer, which was hideous in its own right. Contrast this with SuSE's down right gorgeous and painless setup. If I was a noob (which I sorta still am), I would definitely prefer SuSE's bloated, but beatiful and easier install than Ubuntu's anyday.
2) I tried five installs on the system. Every time the install would seem to go through, eject the CD, and then not boot. Why? Because as google told me much later, Ubuntu can't handle having a SATA drive and an IDE drive in the same machine. During setup it labled my SATA as HDA0, while in grub it saw it as HDA1. Which meant it didn't boot...
3) I physically unplugged my IDE drive, and then continued the install. Now during install it crapped out giving me some weird error message installing initramfs. It was working with the IDE drive plugged in a second ago!!! I don't know what I did to get around this, but eventually it installed. I booted the machine and was greated with no sound, no smp support, and no dma. Compare this with SuSE where all of my hardware (minus 3D on video card) was correctly identified, and initialized.
4) I tried really hard to get the smp kernel. For the life of me I couldn't get synaptic to see the kernel I needed. I finally gave up and downloaded the Ubuntu (not Kubuntu) dvd. I installed Ubuntu no problem, and it worked like a charm. This leads me to believe that Kubuntu is Shuttleworth's ugly stepson who no one likes and there is no where near the amount of bug checking and QA available as compared to Ubuntu.

So why'd I make the switch from SuSE? SuSE was a great beginner distro and all, but felt sluggish on my Dual Xeon machine. Kubuntu when finally installed was noticeably snappier.

Re:No reason to be vulnerable to spyware. (2, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473888)

Still its no windows.

I used to use FreeBSD and I tried Ubuntu (gnome version) and decided not to keep it. Its a hassle to upgrade to Openoffice 2.0 and Java5. Sure I could probably do it if I had time on my hands but its a pain to redo the apt.sources and download unstable software from god knows where. I am afraid it would make my system buggy with the nasty dependancies that are beta or RC level.

I got the Gentoo cd and I am going to try again with that but still its not for average Joes.

Windows is nice because it just works. With school and a shift from pc support to programming at work I dont care about some of the things linux has to offer from a server level. I just want to point and click and work.

During spring break I will put unix back on my system but for now I am sticking with windows. I am at least knoweldge to know better than to install most software that comes with malware.

Have I tried Kubuntu? Why yes, I did. (2)

bitflip (49188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473957)

I've been an Ubuntu user for about a year, and I've used FreeBSD for many more. I like Ubuntu, but I used KDE on my FreeBSD machines, and ended up installing the KDE packages on the Ubuntu machine.

So, when my hard drive failed I thought I'd just cut to the chase, and install Kubuntu.

I certainly didn't expect problems, as it is essentially Ubuntu, right?

I'm not going to iterate the various problems I had - the main one was getting wireless to work (which I did after manually hacking the config) - but I will say that Kubuntu ain't no Ubuntu. They need really need to work on polishing the system integration/config aspects of the tools. Ubuntu has just done a better job of it.

I wasn't happy until I blew away Kubuntu, and installed Ubuntu and the KDE packages. Everything is working just fine, and life is good.

(I'm not trying to start a Kubuntu/Ubuntu flamewar. You asked, and I'm just sayin')

Re:The major lesson of all this. (2, Interesting)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473649)

I don't know if users really find it easiest to use. It's just "what's installed on the computer". I would say that way under 5% of the user community has made any kind of comparison between alternative operating systems and decided, as a personal choice, which one they want to use.

I know that after trying MacOS, Linux and various flavors of Windows, I find MacOS X much easier to use than Windows - but at lot of this is just that MacOS X doesn't move their preferences around constantly between OS versions.

In the end, though, my preference for MacOS is more aesthetic than anything else - I like the huge amount of work that's gone into making it slick and designer-friendly. There's also the ability not to have to worry constantly about virii and spyware.

I do think more people would work on spyware for MacOS X if it was more popular, but it's hard for me to believe people haven't done it and are not working on it even in its current state. After all, if someone can get their spyware on the Mac, there are still millions of machines to infect and they might be the only infection on the machine instead of one of fifty or so as in the Windows world.

It's quite possible that Mac users are more knowledgeable about their computers, or at least tasteful enough not to download 600,000,000 free smiley faces with hideous background art including 20 new spyware programs. Or perhaps having to type your password after downloading software gives people an idea that downloading software just might be dangerous ...

D

Re:The major lesson of all this. (4, Informative)

Kickboy12 (913888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473664)

I disagree.

People have been saying the same thing for IE vs. Firefox for a couple years now.

Guess what? I still don't see very many sites getting around Firefox's pop-up blocker, significantly exploiting it's weaknesses, or finding new security holes by the dozen. And yet... I continue to see it with IE. And don't be saying; "Firefox isn't popular, it'll happen eventually". My ass. It's been advertised into the ground.

Thus, the same concept with *nix vs. Windows. Windows is inherintly insecure, and by the nature of how it works and how it was designed, it makes it easier for advertisers to create software that'll mask itself from everything else. You simply CANT do this on Linux/Unix to the same degree, just as you simply CANT exploit Firefox the same way you can IE. Trust me, I've tried.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473714)

Advertising doesn't mean something's popular. While there will often be a correlation between how much advertising is done for a product versus the market share of that product, the popularity of the product cannot be inferred by the amount of advertising done for that product.

Firefox has around 10% [informationweek.com] market share, while IE has over 85%. Without debating the inherent (in)security of Firefox or IE, the fact that IE has over eight times the market share that Firefox does, as well as having more than 3/4 of the entire market, means that most spyware that has to attack a specific browser will be written for it, because there is a much greater chance of having the spyware distributed.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (2, Insightful)

linguae (763922) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473698)

[Windows] is also the operating system that users find the easiest to use, and it is also the operating system that (in my opinion) has the most flexibility for programmers and software corporations of all sizes.

I disagree. Mac OS X is considered by many much easier to use than Windows (in fact, the classic Mac OS, IMO, is considered by some to be the hallmark of usability; memory management issues aside, in some ways it is more "user-friendly" than OS X is), even though I do agree that Windows is easier to use than Linux is (I'm talking more than just the interface; even though KDE and GNOME have reached Windows as far as usability (IMO), it is the whole package that counts, and some things such as installing certain drivers are tougher in Linux than in Windows. That's why I still have a Windows partition). I also find the Unix-based OSes to be more flexible for programming than Windows is; Unix has tons of command-line based programming tools at your disposal, and programming GUIs in Unix has gotten better with GTK+ and QT (even though Mac OS X leads the pack here with Carbon/Cocoa). Unix has widespread support for nearly all programming languages and programming styles, as well.

I do agree with you on the rest of your points, however. Spyware isn't necessarily a security issue (even though Microsoft's security issues don't help the issue); it is about users who don't know any better. It doesn't matter if Microsoft creates a version of Windows built on top of BSD or Linux. Nothing in Unix prevents a user from running a script that says "rm -rf ~", which ends up deleting all of their files. After all, part of the Unix philosophy is not holding the hands of users ;). It doesn't matter if that script is a program saying "Download FREE revealing pictures of Pamela Anderson" or "Click this icon and win an iPod" or something else that many people will fall for.

Even the most secure OpenBSD system will fall victim to *nix spyware if you let the most foolish (l)user mess around with the system.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (2, Informative)

TemporalBeing (803363) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473993)

Nothing in Unix prevents a user from running a script that says "rm -rf ~", which ends up deleting all of their files. After all, part of the Unix philosophy is not holding the hands of users ;).

Actually, there is - it is called permissions. Windows does not really understand the execute permission - it just looks at what file type it is, not what the user (or administrator) desires. That is not to say there are not ways to overcome it, or even ways to exploit programs - there are; but the impact is minimalized by how *nix/bsd security is set up. For the most part, it will only affect one user, not all of them; and even that can be minimalized by the default permissions scheme used, and developers not automatically giving downloaded files the execute permission (just read/write).

There does seem to be an execute permission under Windows, but it is pretty much a joke and no one (not Microsoft, or admins, or anyone else) pays attention to it. So the very fact that *nix/bsd and Mac OS X does pay attention to it (and the community is aware of its use) already puts them lightyears ahead of Windows.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473703)

Windows is, by far, the most insecure operating system out there. It is also the operating system that users find the easiest to use

Uhm, me wagers it's the _only_ operating system your hypotetical user has used.

and it is also the operating system that (in my opinion) has the most flexibility for programmers and software corporations of all sizes.

roffle

chroot(8), maybe? (1)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473752)

While the *nix varieties are definitely more secure (as they are now), a switch to *nix will not lead us to less spyware-ridden applications online. In fact, if Windows were to fail commercially tomorrow and everyone runs *nix, you'll see spyware applications be written for these OSes immediately.

Dada,

While I generally enjoy your rather radical libertarian posts over here (by the way, what happened to your karma, why this is only Score:1, Informative? is Score:0 default for you now that you were outed as THE head of /. libertarian consipancy??? ;-) ), on the technical side you might be wrong here.

Does MS Windows have chroot(8) system call? I doubt that (not that I really know, never really programmed for Windows)... *nix architects have thoight of it, like, 20 years ago...

Can you 'alias firefox "sudo -u paulbu-paranoid firefox"'?

Why is it relevant? IMHO, any consumer-oriented version of *nix would be much tighter secured by default than current Windows. Note that I am not saying that, say, Ubuntu (as it exists now) is suddenly given 95% market share would be secure -- but some simple mods can be almost transparent to the user, while protecting the system (including your actual $HOME!) from most of the instances of his own poor computer literacy (AKA stupidity)!

Paul B.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (2, Interesting)

balloot (943499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473803)

*nix does not mean secure. It just isn't popular enough for spyware programmers to target, yet. Give it time, I think as it gains popularity, it will begin to be a target for the software companies that try to enter and dissect your life digitally. I strongly disagree with the sentiment. One of the most useful tools available to a really annoying piece of spyware is the Windows Registry. *nix systems (Mac OSX included) do not include this "feature." The registry adds an extremely unecessary layer which adds some convenience, but relies on programs which make registry entries to give a way to uninstall and delete these entries. Guess what? Spyware loves to insert itself all over the registry, and doesn't give an easy mechanism for deletion. This leads to the "I deleted it, but it just comes back!" kind of spyware that drives people nuts. As far as I know, this kind of spyware wouldn't have anywhere near the same resilience on a *nix platform. One very good example of the difference between spyware attempts on Windows and OSX is Sony's infamous "rootkit" DRM software which we all know did very bad things to Windows computers. Before a patch was made, there was some 18 step process that was necessary to get rid of the software, and any attempts to remove the software generally led to failures of the user's DVD drive. What was less reported was that the same company made DRM software for the Mac, but Mac users who found the program on their computer had a slightly easier fix - they just threw the program away. There are simply not the same kind of hooks in OSX which allow these kinds of programs to do nasty things to your computer.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (1)

SoulMaster (717007) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473906)

Excellent point. Moreover, the more linux installations you have running, the more idiot users you have that will click on the spyware and install it.

Let's remember that they disected spyware hidden in installation packages, not neccessarily crap that would be prevented by better security anyway.

Gotta train the monkeys, only then does spyware go away.

Flame me. You know you want to (1)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473598)

Windows is easier to use for a lot of things, has more drivers, less configuration issues, and the reason it has so many security holes is because it has so much useful stuff in it for people to exploit. A Linux system with as many features, applications, as much usability etc as a Windows system will probably have nearly the same amount of security holes. Then you have to consider the fact that hackers target Windows because everyone uses it. If everyone used Linux, the situation would be just as bad.

Re:Flame me. You know you want to (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473694)

Try a recent Kubuntu release. You may just find that it includes all the drivers you need, even for laptops and other picky systems. I know that for my HP and IBM laptops, I need acquire drivers separately when using Windows XP. It's far less of a hassle to use Kubuntu, knowing that it detects all of the hardware on those systems, and automatically uses drivers/modules that work perfectly fine.

Often times second-hand systems do not include the driver CDs from the system vendor. Again, that leads to a situation where you have to find out what type of hardware the system includes, and then find drivers for it. Why bother finding them when Kubuntu (or other modern Linux distributions) offers them for you right off the bat?

Ideally, everyone would use a system that best suits them. These days, Mac OS X and Linux are very suitable desktops for most users. The one ones who are really left out are those who wish to play games. But for people who run a business or use their computers mainly for non-gaming tasks, a non-Microsoft system will often be superb.

Not only that, but it will be more secure. You attribute it that security to such systems not being targetted as much, but the actual reason is most likely because they are of a higher quality to begin with. While not perfect, they do have a track record of being far more secure and stable, while being just as usable (if not moreso).

Re:Flame me. You know you want to (2, Interesting)

kernelpanicked (882802) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473713)

You know I could flame you to hell and back but I won't. I'd rather just point out something you're obviously missing.

It has been my experience that most Windows systems that end up with this crap installed end up having to be reloaded, wasting hours of time backing up data, reloading, reconfiguring the system. Now in the unlikely event that one of my systems got hold of one of these imaginary UNIX spyware apps, it would leave me having to run a total of 2 commands.

# userdel -r kernelpanicked
# useradd -m kernelpanicked

I'm really not seeing your point here.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (2, Interesting)

Jeng (926980) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473601)

Spyware and Adware are not caused by microsoft, well not most of it. Thats like saying though that rotten meat causes flies. You can inform your friends and your family, give them the information they need "in a way that they can understand and use it" and you will be fixing their computers less often.

As ignorant users move to other operating systems you will get spyware and adware on linux and mac also. Rootkits have a long history with unix don't they?

Re:The major lesson of all this. (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473717)

You usually have to be root to install software in linux. If you are root and installing software, that software could include nasties that hose your linux system just as easily as your windows system.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (1)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473733)

yeah but for most people using the popular distros, installing software means using some sort of software management tool. this usually means that the software you're trying to install has gone through some sort of checking process, be it formal or informal, and much safer than just downloading some .exe off the web and running it. It's no silver bullet and problems can still arise, but IMHO, it's a lot safer.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (1)

Mancat (831487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473734)

Dumb. Even if all you could do was install software to your user's home directory, you could still become infected by all of these things in Linux. If, sometime in the far future, most Linux distributions take on an OS X-like system where users can grant processes root priveleges when needsd, things will be just the same as it is on Windows right now.

You don't think too deeply before you comment, do you?

Re:The major lesson of all this. (1)

mboverload (657893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473745)

Bullshit. We need smarter users.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (4, Insightful)

TimTheFoolMan (656432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473841)

It's no surprise that we who write software are seen as arrogant when we see the *average* user, the person who makes technically uninformed decisions, and our response is, "the problem isn't with our system, the problem is that you Mr. User are an idiot."

The world has idiots. Why can't technology people (us) accept this without derision? The world also has many people who don't know technology, and don't care too. They are not necessarily the same people.

Emerson said "Every man is in some way my superior, and in that i can learn from him." We seem to be so busy casting aspersions that we don't have time to listen. We're so quick to insult, perhaps because we (developers and technology people) don't *care* about users. Are we so superior to Emerson that there's nobody we can learn from?

Why can't *someone* care enough about the technologically illiterate to protect them against themselves? Why isn't there a company out there that will make it difficult for a regular user to install something that has potentially deep affects to the OS, but makes the OS accessible to that same user?

Oh wait... there already is one.

Tim

Re:The major lesson of all this. (4, Insightful)

CTalkobt (81900) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473834)

This is not a windows issue (as much as I dislike windows).

It's a user issue. Like any information on the web you need to consider the source of where you're getting your programs from. I wouldn't get cancer information from the tobacco companies websites - just as similairly I wouldn't get software utilities from my company from a page that has a bunch of advertisement links along with some porn.

Rational users would cure 95% of the virus / trojan issues. The other 5% are usually inadvertant mistakes from legit websites. For those a checker is needed if you want to immediatly download files. That or let others be your guinea pigs and only download ones older than 3 months old.

( I know - there is no such thing as a rational user but I can dream... )

Re:The major lesson of all this. (1)

teslatug (543527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473942)

What does this have to do with Windows? Are you telling me that if you ran malware that targeted Linux you wouldn't have a problem? Sure you're likely going to run it as a user instead of root, but the nuisance factor could be just as high.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (1)

Compuser (14899) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473962)

No, what we have learned is that most people need two computers:
an internet facing box with a browser and email and one box
for all their real work (balancing their books with GNUcash or
Money, office work, playing games etc.). Importantly, the box
for work must be physically disconnected from the net, not even
via sneakernet.
This is at home.
At work, the same is needed, except the work boxes may be wired into
a network which is still in no way connected to the net. It may
even be a good idea to make net facing boxes a few per floor
unless people need the internet a lot.
Security does not seem to be achievable via software. It is not a
coincidence that the OS many people think is easiest to use is the
one that is least secure. Administrative controls are needed and
they need to be loud and clear even if they represent a complete
rewiring of the building and doubling the number of boxes.

Re:The major lesson of all this. (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473998)

When you consider how many alternatives (often far cheaper, too) are available, it's a wonder that so many still choose to use software that leaves their systems wide open to exploitation

It's not such a wonder at all.

Open Sourceforge.net. Search for projects that are aimed at users without a trace of the Geek in them. The pickings can be mighty slim.

Turn to a site like Amazon.com for a look at what these users want. It is a very different world.

And one of them is slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473587)

Mysteriously, some random links inside the popular site known as "slashdot" point to goatse. Some do not even require any user action. It's even worse than spyware!

Should research better servers (-1, Offtopic)

gamepro (859021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473591)

Because that got slashdotted rather quickly

Spyware is bad for your server (0, Offtopic)

Nanite (220404) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473594)

All that spyware must be killing their server. Slashdotted :)

Re:Spyware is bad for your server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473673)

You guys are network terrorists. How about installing Coralize firefox extension.

Here is a link that works

http://tinyurl.com/dcs5p [tinyurl.com]

Re:Spyware is bad for your server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473785)

Because I've personally never seen a coral cache that worked when the original server was down, and never seen a coral cache faster than a server that is up. And I do have the coralize bookmarklet. Although a coralize/tinyURLize button to get both done in one swoop would be convenient.

However, going through that whole process would just make it easier for people to slip in links to the goatse.cx guy.

How do they define the "top million" sites? (1, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473600)

What is their criteria for deciding if a site is within the "top million" on the WWW? Are they using data from a service such as Alexa, or is it mere speculation on their part as to the traffic of the sites they have tested?

Re:How do they define the "top million" sites? (2, Informative)

NoMercy (105420) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473625)

In my quick look though the blog, they quoted Alexa ranking figures. I'd say they're using those to determine how popular sites are.

End Users Beware (5, Informative)

queenb**ch (446380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473603)

I can tell you from the experience of working on a network where the end users have very unwisely been made local admins on their workstation that the *only* thing required for a full spyware infection is a nice little surf around the 'net. This is compounded by the problem that they all seem to have some touch of OCD that compels them to click "OK" on anything thing that wants to install itself despite all of our efforts to educate them.

I will say that it is nice to see someone put quantifable numbers to the things I have long known from practical experience, but this isn't exactly news.

2 cents,

Queen B

Re:End Users Beware (1)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473629)

Yes, despite all your attempts to educate them, they still click OK when it asks if they want to install Windows. No wonder your network has problems. Even though what I said before about Windows being better sometimes is true, *nix is still more secure in a network environment.

Re:End Users Beware (2, Interesting)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473634)

This can be reduced somewhat by making the internet zone very restricted and simply making a whitelist of sites and put them in the trusted sites list.
It doesn't solve everything like the recent WMF exploit but it does stop what I lovingly refer to as "dumbfuck user" syndrome, which exhibits such symptoms as the inability to read, lack of intelligence and an inherent lack of cognitive reasoning.

Unforunately the company I work at are currently locked into some bespoke software that REQUIRES lock admin rights. I'm currently trying my utmost to get all windows machines onto XP so I can atleast get IE and Outlook running in reduced priveleges mode using dropmyrights. (if anyone knows of a way to do the same under Win 2k please let me know)

Re:End Users Beware (1)

BushCheney08 (917605) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473639)

...what I lovingly refer to as "dumbfuck user" syndrome, which exhibits such symptoms as the inability to read, lack of intelligence and an inherent lack of cognitive reasoning.

It's a shame that DUS isn't only limited to computers...

Re:End Users Beware (1)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473655)

I seem to be suffering a bit from DUS at the moment. Hangs head in shame at all the grammar and spelling mistakes...

In my defense, it is 2am here.

Site Mirror (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473608)

from Mirrordot [mirrordot.com]

The kind of plugin... (2, Funny)

themysteryman73 (771100) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473611)

That's the kind of plugin that I would be afraid to download for fear of spyware...

Re:The kind of plugin... (2, Funny)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473794)

Forget sypware... I'd be afraid of people linking to the goatse.cx guy.

Re:The kind of plugin... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473961)

Just to be evil I thought of writing something really cool and put spyware in their that puts windows to teh goatse guy and then puts out big letters saying "Spyware!".

I dont know why people put up with this crap? but negatively publicity would surely help not to mention I could piss people off.

Do what we say, not what we do? (3, Interesting)

Jamesday (794888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473616)

"We've also made our data available under Creative Commons License 2.5". Data is ineligible for copyright cover in the United States, so no license is needed or can apply.

They wouldn't bundle an unnecessary license with useful data just after writing about bundling unnecessary software with desired applications, would they? :)

It is useful outside the US, though, so this is actually a but tongue in cheek. :)

C'mon, hands up... (1)

kale77in (703316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473843)

Odds are good that some Slashdot readers are involved in producing and propagating spyware. (Lots of us, lots of it. You do the math.)

How about you fake your IP, make a new account, post as Anonymous Coward -- whatever you need to do -- and give us an insight into your world, and the attitudes of the people you work for?

Re:C'mon, hands up... (4, Funny)

Council (514577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473865)

Odds are good that some Slashdot readers are involved in producing and propagating spyware. (Lots of us, lots of it. You do the math.)

How about you fake your IP, make a new account, post as Anonymous Coward -- whatever you need to do -- and give us an insight into your world, and the attitudes of the people you work for?


It just so happens I work for a large spyware/malware company, and I'd like to blow the whistle. My report on our industry is available here [entertainm...lpaper.com] . (To access my tell-all, you should all click "yes" on whatever dialogues come up.)

Re:Do what we say, not what we do? (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473853)

The word "data" is confusing. It is true that the actual information described in those files can't be "copyrighted" (scare quotes as the concept does not actually apply). However, the database itself would be protected under a compilation copyright. That is unless you can demonstrate to the court that the compilation contains no creative effort whatsoever, something that the courts have historically interpreted as an extremely high standard that this collection would almost certainly not meet, leaving its copyright intact. (The only thing that I am aware of that has ever met this standard is the phone book as a set of names->phone numbers; if much else has, it's a small set.)

It is true that you don't need their permission to use the data from an entry or two as you choose, but by licensing the whole under CC, they are also allowing you use the whole database under the (loose) terms of that license. The CC license is not redundant, as it does add to your set of legally permissible actions (with direct negotiation).

Re:Do what we say, not what we do? (1)

teslatug (543527) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473969)

The key phrase is "in the United States." There are countries that frown at public domain works (*cough*Frenchies*cough*) so the license might actually help.

Startup ... or shutdown (3, Funny)

lucm (889690) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473619)

They should add a feature on the SiteAdvisor toolbar: "this site is often down".

I don't agree. (5, Insightful)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473632)

THe security paradigm of Windows and the Unix World are Apples and Green peppers. There will still be spyware threats out there if Windows didn't exist. But they would be different threats, and they could eeven be worse in some cases, but they would be fewer in number and the Internet wouldn't be such a darkened Hell hole it is steadily becoming. The Data miners would get more resistance from the Unix world than they have a Windows world that can't fight back.

Re:I don't agree. (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473715)

The only software installation difference between the Windows world of today and the UNIX/MacOSX world of today: to install software in the latter case the user must provide a password. That provides a little extra security to guard against background processes, but all the cases mentioned in the article required the user to click a button to proceed. Malware authors could simply say "To install this cool Aaliyah screen saver, enter your password!" and most UNIX/MacOSX users would happily comply.

To get software installed in a diverse environment, malware authors would just provide source code that would be compiled, the binary installed, and the code purged.

dummy work around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473854)

it would be easy enough if the users browser had an extension that brought up a really large font in blood red letters WARNING! YOU ARE ABOUT TO INSTALL SOFTWARE THAT REQUIRES FULL ROOT PRIVELEGES! ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DO THIS? IT IS A SECURITY RISK!

There's one program example I am aware of, x-chat, that automatically protects noobs, if you are logged in as root it gives you a quite stern lecture to "not do this". There's no reason generic browsers couldn't do this now.

Spyware is a very recent development. (0)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473741)

There will still be spyware threats out there if Windows didn't exist.

Recall that spyware is a relatively recent development. While malicious software has existed for decades, spyware didn't come into the picture until less than a decade ago.

Many have pointed out that spyware wasn't a problem while Netscape Navigator was the dominant browser. It has only became a very significant and prevalent problem since many users started using Internet Explorer. Also recall that Navigator was hardly considered a high-quality piece of software, even when dominant. I know many in the field of security who were quite astounded that Internet Explorer could be of an even lower standard than Netscape.

Spyware today is solely a problem with Windows, made possible by the shoddy quality of Internet Explorer. That fact is verified by the fact that those who have switched to Firefox suffer far fewer, if any, browser-related spyware incidents.

Oddity... (3, Interesting)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473635)

How can they be testing the top 1000000 web sites, if they're only downloading 100000 programs? That would leave a lot of sites untouched. It seems that in order to test 1000000 web sites, they would have to download at *least* 1000000 programs. Unless, of course, they grabbed programs from *some* of the top 1000000 web sites, in which case they would have programs from, say, site #1, #10, #20, etc.

Re:Oddity... (2, Informative)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473650)

That is still one site of every ten which offers software for download. Remember, there are many more sites offering just information or other services than there are offering software for download. If anything, I'd think that 10% of the top million sites is an awfully high percentage to be offering downloadable software.

Re:Oddity... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473651)

Why does each site have to have a unique program? Isn't it likely that programs are going to get re-used across different sites.

Re:Oddity... (1)

Elminst (53259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473909)

Umm news flash...

Not every site has downloads! Hard to believe, but true!

Very interesting... (4, Informative)

skogs (628589) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473644)

This is a very neat process that I would enjoy having the ability to root around in. Very nice tool, and looks like it has created some excellent data.

I would enjoy seeing some of the nastier data put forth in a simple list so that I can add them to my banned domain listing on my firewall.

Currently, I knock down ads(from the ~1800 most active servers), with the wonderful help of the following gentleman.

# last updated: 2005-12-18 15:17:02

# The latest version of this list and other ways of viewing it are at:

# //pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/

# - Peter Lowe // pgl@yoyo.org

#

For the Lazy... [yoyo.org]

Now, about that warez/malware/stupid screensaver and other utilities list....

wow (2, Funny)

CountZero117 (921222) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473646)

no complaints about the article linking to a blog? what's the world coming to? ;)

Re:wow (1)

the_flyswatter (720503) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473674)

It's so common, everyone is getting used to it...

I'm just pissed I'm nobody's bitch (-1, Offtopic)

Quirk (36086) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473663)

Who has the time to visit these sites? Other than busting my ass +10 hours a day running faster than I can in the Domain of the Red Queen, I get to visit /., the Reg, 5 web comic sites and read the feeds off a half dozen or so sites. Staying current with mailing lists eats giant chunks of time and the rest of my pitiful life is taken up by refilling my coffee mug.

You got spyware. I wish I had spyware. I just want the time to be somebody's bitch... /. goatse trolls need not apply.

top million Web sites (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473671)

They claim to have tested the top million Web sites, but goatse and tubgirl aren't in there, so they can't have.

Re:top million Web sites (1)

mogwai7 (704419) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473982)

I think we all learned by now not to click on those links. ;P

Wow (1)

Life700MB (930032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473682)


downloaded over 100,000 programs from the top million Web sites

You know you have too much free time when you download 10^11 programs just to test them for spyware.


--
Superb hosting [tinyurl.com] 20GB Storage, 1_TB_ bandwidth, ssh, $7.95

Re:Wow (1)

Mancow (887021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473697)

Reading is fundamental, and this case I don't mean TFA:

"...has downloaded over 100,000 programs from the top million Web sites and tested them for adware and spyware using an automated system they've built."

Unless, of course, you're a troll. If that's the case I wish for you a slow and painful death at the hands of Windows 3.1.

Exokernel Guys (4, Interesting)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473684)

The technical guys in the company are from MIT's exokernel project.

They worked on delivering high throughput for video with their superior OS technology. It interoperated with Windows, allowing them to make money.

This project looks surprisingly un-technical and uncomplicated in comparison, given how competent and accomplished they are.

Here's an exokernel link:
http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/exo.html [mit.edu]

Slashdot Safe To Use (3, Funny)

znx (847738) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473695)

http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/slashdot.org/ [siteadvisor.com]

I plan on contesting the results, they plainly haven't investigated hard enough.

Re:Slashdot Safe To Use (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473786)


        Annoyances

Sorry, we haven't tested this, yet.

Clearly

You get what you pay for... (5, Insightful)

ian_mackereth (889101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473736)

If the word "Free!" is enough to get users to download the screensaver, game, utility, etc., then this sort of thing will continue.

Somebody has to pay for the server bandwidth and the time to write the programs, and one viable model is adware. I deplore the installation of software that's a)not in the EULA or installer screens and b)damn hard to get rid of, but the 'legit' adware is what's paying the bills of the guys giving you free stuff.

There's always a subset of users who can circumvent the installation of the unasked-for bundles, but the average user without updated anti-spyware, firewall or anti-virus software will make enough money for the vendors to keep us in freebies for quite some time to come...

Re:You get what you pay for... (1)

slysithesuperspy (919764) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473792)

Well, at least its a good way to know what not to download. :)

I don't get it (1, Interesting)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473740)

There are already numerous companies that are looking for malware (including spyware) on the web, developing signatures, and making that information available over the web. They even provide handy little desktop applications that will scan and evaluate software not just by site-of-origin but by actual content. An example of this is "Spybot" (www.safer-networking.org).

It seems like what this company is trying to add into the mix is automated testing, but it's doubtful that identifying spyware is the limiting factor right now in eliminating it. It also seems doubtful that automated testing is, ultimately, going to be effective or reliable.

Where is the accountability? (4, Insightful)

Presence2 (240785) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473759)

If I designed a product that allowed me to invade your home without your knowledge, spy on your behavior, and report it back to me - I would be arrested (or hired by NSA/homeland security).

Yet, all these thousands of products do this with absolutely zero accountability. As far as I am concerned, the programmers and companies who promote this behavior should be just as culpable as any petty crook who selfishly holds no regard for their victims.

Re:Where is the accountability? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473851)

If I designed a product that allowed me to invade your home without your knowledge, spy on your behavior, and report it back to me - I would be arrested (or hired by NSA/homeland security).
Possibly. Forget the hacking skills - how good are you at judging Arabian horses?

You do have a point, computer crime has gone mainstream and is now only considered a dubious business practice.

Holly molly, that thing needs a designer (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473765)

While the extension itself may be useful, it's ugly as a sin, the icons are criminal and the one in the status bar is horribly distorded under a 1280*1024 resolution, making it butt-ugly and hard to read.

Seriously, I'm afraid that I can't keep something THAT ugly in my browser, it's just too much.

stop advertising for MIT (2, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473947)

An open letter to slashdot:

Please stop it with the name-dropping. It's irritating and insulting. The article has plenty of merit on its own, and is indeed a fine bit of information to put on slashdot.

However, the fact that it was started by two MIT alum is completely irrelevant. If this was the direct result of research being done by a group of MIT students or professors, it might be appropriate to place a reference to MIT in the blurb (but probably not the title). We're not an MIT related publication, as hard as that may be to believe (Wired is also a terrible offender of this).

It reminds me of my psychology textbook, which would always drop the name of the institution responsible for a certain piece of research: "Harvard Professor Shelly cline worked with Yale Psychologist Howard Walken to refine Pavlov's theory....." and so on, provided that the institution was in the Ivy League. Flipping through the pages, I found a few references to only Ivy Leavue Universities and overseas institutions (specifically Cambridge and Harvard).

Now, I'm not going to deny that a great deal of mighty fine research comes out of MIT and the Ivy League, but I'm also going to remind everyone here that other institutions also churn out a great amount of significant research, and they are hardly ever credited for it. My tiny public liberal arts school even churns out a fair bit of good research.

So, slashdot. Please stop shamelessly plugging these name-brand schools. They've done nothing wrong, but by publicizing them in such a way, you're dragging down the other 99% of the educational system that the rest of us have to utilize.

(To be fair, I did RTFA, and sideadvisor seems genuinely cool)

Re:stop advertising for MIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473989)

I don't go to MIT or the Ivy League but MIT gets all the mention because they are the ones who are at the front of alot of research in terms of both quality and quantity of publication.

If you feel that other institutions are doing quality work of similar vein that belongs on Slashdot, then feel free to post it.

Otherwise, you reek of some sort of jealousy/envy.

Neat (2, Informative)

rune.w (720113) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473955)

This is a good project and it has the potential of eventually becoming the "Google of spyware". It's a pitty their methods are not explained at a greater detail in their FAQ, but then it prevents spyware companies from finding a quick workaround to fool their system.

They even have a Firefox extension already: http://www.siteadvisor.com/ffinstall.html [siteadvisor.com]

I'm looking forward to them adding cookie support to their database. Maybe I could finally stop blocking all cookies by default.

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