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Spy Sweeper, the Next Netscape?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the speculative-business dept.

256

GenieGenieGenie writes "AP is running a story about Webroot's Spy Sweeper, specifically about the competition it's facing from Vista's bundled anti-spyware. Webroot's CEO David Moll maintains that 'The taking of a second-best product in this space [i.e. Vista's Defender, f.k.a. AntiSpyware] is akin to locking half the doors in your house,' but others seem to think that if Moll doesn't want his company to become a second Netscape, it would 'ultimately [...] need to offer more than just an anti-spyware package.' The interesting issue here is whether this need for broadening the offer would be the case also for other leading companies subject to similar 'bundled-with' competition."

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woah now... (1)

ribo-bailey (724061) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377476)

You mean they're not just going to sue Microsoft?!?

Re:woah now... (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377741)

All of this, discussed on a link from /. which tries to load SIX cookies through my browser!

Now - more than ever...

But does it run on linux... (-1, Troll)

notanatheist (581086) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377479)

Yes, it's a troll! I'm in that mood. So mod me down if you want.

Opportunity! (5, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377483)

I think there's an opportunity here for someone to sell a spyware app, but to bundle a free operating system with it. That ought to hit MS where it hurts. =)

Re:Opportunity! (1)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377491)

What gets me about all this is why MS is even releasing an antispyware program... wouldn't they be better off patching their own code? Its like someone trying to sell you repairs to their broken product. Yes I know its free - for now.

Re:Opportunity! (3, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377531)

Why would presence of spyware indicate a defect in the code?

Re:Opportunity! (2, Insightful)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377562)

Um... if software can invasively monitor the Operating System without the user's knowledge, there's a flaw in the Operating System.

Re:Opportunity! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377598)

Um... if software can invasively monitor the Operating System without the user's knowledge, there's a flaw in the Operating System.

Um... If a user downloads a web browser, and the web browser sends everything he enters onto web pages to some spyware company, how is the operating system supposed to protect agains that? The only way is for it to maintain a list of signatures of previously identified malware and detect it. In other words, an anti-spyware facility.

Re:Opportunity! (4, Informative)

creepynut (933825) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377626)

And then there's the programmers who sell out and bundle [spy|ad]ware with their programs. Sure, you can opt out, but most people only care to click Next, next, finish.

Let's not forget programs like Kazaa, if it's even still around, which actually REQUIRE you to not only install, but keep the crapware on your system in order to run it.

Defects in the operating system indeed.

Of course, a lot of the nasty crap that gets on your computer without you DOING anything is generally on rathe questionable sites (e.g. Warez sites). This is thanks to lacking security in Internet Explorer, not the OS.

Re:Opportunity! (2, Insightful)

TheShadowzero (884085) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377643)

And yet, Internet Explorer is an integrated and core application for the OS...you can't uninstall IE [on a Windows box]. Note the insane amount of time it takes to upgrade IE.

Re:Opportunity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377773)

You know, the fact that the OP says its a security issue in the OS instead of IE doesn't diminish the assertion that MS is selling a broken product and then charging you to fix it. It's cheap and wrong; it's the same issue with them selling anti-virus. They could just fix their OS and we wouldn't have the twenty-odd-zillion viruses a month; why have anti-virus code that actively seeks "bad" code to head it off at the pass when you can have auto-patching code that makes the bad code ineffective by way of patching the initial exploit? Because it's a new market they can move in to is why, to hell with their consumers.

Re:Opportunity! (1)

adslmaster (882246) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377791)

When the OS and the browser are as tightly integraded as windows and IE, that makes your point moot!

Re:Opportunity! (1)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377688)

Spyware by its very name is not desireable on a computer. No one wants it there, except obviously its makers. The problem that arises is when this spyware is running invisibly, and with no easy way to uninstall it (cool web search anyone?), even assuming the user ever finds out it is there. I'd call the fact that spyware manufacturers can produce parasitic software definetly indicative of defective code.

Re:Opportunity! (1)

vcv (526771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377610)

Yes, because software a user explicitily installs doesn't come bundled with spyware they dont want and dont know is there. Users also never run attachments they receive without knowing what it is. And they never download and open BritneySpearsNude.jpg.exe from p2p and run it.

Idiot.

Re:Opportunity! (5, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377818)

What gets me about all this is why MS is even releasing an antispyware program... wouldn't they be better off patching their own code?

Anti-spyware (and antivirus) software isn't protecting from defects in the code, it's protecting from defects in the user.

You joke, but that's a good idea. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377500)

A bootable CD that cleans up the spyware/virus crap. This is particularly important with the rootkits showing up for Windows.

It's easy to clean a Linux box (if you should ever get infected). But it is extremely difficult to clean a Windows box.

Re:You joke, but that's a good idea. (0)

Rix (54095) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377667)

It's easy to clean a Linux box (if you should ever get infected).

No, it isn't. Do you have an md5 for all of your binaries? It could be hiding in any of them, ready to reinfest as soon as you run something as innocent as "ps".

Re:You joke, but that's a good idea. (2, Informative)

croddy (659025) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377792)

No, it isn't. Do you have an md5 for all of your binaries?

Package: debsums
Description: Verify installed package files against MD5 checksums.
debsums can verify the integrity of installed package files against
MD5 checksums installed by the package, or generated from a .deb
archive.
Tag: devel::packaging, security::integrity, suite::debian

Yup (1)

mfh (56) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377514)

It's called Linux.

F$ck Spyware: Defend The United States (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377557)



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Thank for your donations.

Kilgore Trout, M.D.

May 21:Prostitute Schedule @ MBOT in San Francisco (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377591)

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Check out the prostitute schedule for May 21, 2006 at the MBOT [fuckedcompany.com] .

The prostitute schedule is updated daily.

Unlike Las Vegas, San Francisco does not regulate prostitution. So, the MBOT heartily welcomes everyone -- including HIV-positive customers.

If you are repulsed by the idea of receiving sex services from a prostitute (at the MBOT) who services roughly 1000 guys per year, then consider the following 2 genuine stripclubs, which prohibit prostitution.

Crazy Horse
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Gold Club
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Re:Opportunity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377604)

Hey, I'm running OpenBSD amd64 on my HP zv6000 laptop. Does this qualify?

Re:Opportunity! (0, Offtopic)

tirefire (724526) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377714)

Your signature is from a song by Orbital and they are the COOLEST.

Uh, wouldn't we WANT a new netscape? (1, Insightful)

Tezkah (771144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377490)

I mean, with the demise of Netscape we got much BETTER browsers, in the way of Mozilla and Firefox and Camino. An MPL'd spyware scanner for windows? I dont think it will have that wide of appeal though...

Re:Uh, wouldn't we WANT a new netscape? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377535)

I mean, with the demise of Netscape we got much BETTER browsers, in the way of Mozilla and Firefox and Camino

Unfortunately, those browsers account for only about 10% of the installed base. The real crux of the problem is that even though there are superior browsers, 90% of users use the (questionably) inferior product, Explorer, because it is installed by default with the operating system.

--
This anonymous post was brought to you by the image-protected password: "ceases"

Re:Uh, wouldn't we WANT a new netscape? (1)

Red Alastor (742410) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377544)

I mean, with the demise of Netscape we got much BETTER browsers, in the way of Mozilla and Firefox and Camino. An MPL'd spyware scanner for windows? I dont think it will have that wide of appeal though...
No, it has a wide appeal as long as geeks suggest to their families what to install (or install the apps for them). You don't think Joe Average found Firefox by himself, don't you ?

Beside once the snowball is started, it can become really hard to stop.

Re:Uh, wouldn't we WANT a new netscape? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377550)

"We" are not the mainstream. Most people still use IE. Before IE was bundeled with Windows, there was actually some mainstream awareness of the options avaliable for browsers. Now, most people just use the "blue 'e'" as their browser.

Even with all the traction Firefox has been making, IE still has a strong majority. The mainstream user -and the internet as a whole- has been unfairly hurt by the bundling of IE with Windows.

It is likley that the same thing will happen with the spyware app, although I don't see it being as harmful as IE has been.

Re:Uh, wouldn't we WANT a new netscape? (4, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377694)

No. The demise of Netscape led directly to Mozilla.org pissing about for over four years without a stable release while Internet Explorer simply soaked up all the marketshare.

We might have better browsers now, but imagine where we'd be if a) Netscape continued to be a organisation that actually shipped software and b) Microsoft actually had to compete against another browser. We might have a decent Internet Explorer, for one thing, as things stand, Internet Explorer really has retarded web development for years.

Re:Uh, wouldn't we WANT a new netscape? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377707)

I mean, with the demise of Netscape we got much BETTER browsers, in the way of Mozilla and Firefox and Camino. An MPL'd spyware scanner for windows? I dont think it will have that wide of appeal though...

That leaves the obvious question though of what innovation would Netscape have brought to the market if they hadn't been crushed?

LK

Or You Could Pull a Netscape... (2, Insightful)

WeAzElMaN (667859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377493)

...And Open-Source the program. Think of the possibilities.

Re:Or You Could Pull a Netscape... (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377581)

I'm trying to think of those possibilities...but they aren't coming.

Re:Or You Could Pull a Netscape... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377712)

Oh they're coming, but they aren't necessarily good.

Re:Or You Could Pull a Netscape... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377716)

I don't think putting an open source anti-spyware app will benefit it much, on the contrary, I think it could hurt a lot, since you can study the method the program uses to search for the spyware/adware and find a way to hide your malicous code. Keeping this kind of code secret is very important to the company IMHO.

Re:Or You Could Pull a Netscape... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377743)

-bankruptcy
-Ridicule

Can't think of anything else right now.

netscape products (4, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377494)

At the time of the IE/Netscape war, Navigator wasn't the only product that Netscape made. They also had a variety of server software, which from what I've heard wasn't all that bad, especially compared to the competition at the time. So saying Webroot should make other products in order to avoid the same fate as Netscape may not be particularly good advice. Depends on what other areas they branch into, I guess.

Re:netscape products (4, Informative)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377593)

Yes, it's often forgotten that Netscape was founded to be an enterprise server software company, and got into selling shrinkwrap browser software by accident.

As for Netscape's server products, the webserver was undercut by Apache, and the other stuff (groupware, application server) didn't sell well compared to IBM or Microsoft. Had they been successful with servers, Netscape would probably still be around today.

As for this anti-spyware company, it reminds me about Quarterdeck's bitching when Microsoft took the outragous step of adding a memory manager to their OS.

Re:netscape products (1)

deathy_epl+ccs (896747) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377706)

it reminds me about Quarterdeck's bitching when Microsoft took the outragous step of adding a memory manager to their OS.

Of course, that was before Microsoft went through the whole anti-competitive thing they're still trying to wriggle out of. The environment for them is a lot different these days than it was back then.

To be fair, though, Quarterdeck's complaint had less credence than the anti-spyware complaint (though I should point out I am not saying one way or the other how I feel about the actual validity of the current complaint, only that it is more credible than some whinging on about an operating system vendor having the audacity to include a memory manager).

Re:netscape products (1)

DarkShadeChaos (954173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377619)

Yeah, I agree with parent to a point. But my personal take is this: if you only make one product, but make it exceptionally well then what's the problem? I think this could be a 'risky' approach; but if nothing else, I believe this would drive them to make a best product possible. Just my 2 cents.

Who is teh best? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377496)

The taking of a second-best product in this space [i.e. Vista's Defender, f.k.a. AntiSpyware]
So, they're the bests and Vista Defender the 2? What about ad-aware, spybots...?
Also, who knew before about this "Spy Sweeper"?

Re:Who is teh best? (1)

codename.matrix (889422) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377684)

very good question. I never heard about the app before. I know of ad-aware and spybot. Why would I want to buy any app if I get those for free. In my opinion this "Spy Sweeper" app is in no way like netscape. They are more like an opera - but without the mobile market.

Re:Who is teh best? (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377729)

I do. It isn't that bad.

Re:Who is teh best? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377751)

Have you actually tried to use Adaware and Spybot to defend and or clean up a machine?

You will find you have to resort to other tools as well.

Re:Who is teh best? (2, Informative)

Unknown_monkey (938642) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377777)

I work in CompUSA, Spy Sweeper is one of the top selling anti-spyware programs. And they offer "Internet Essentials" which is a combo of anti popup, anti-spyware, spam shredder, and windows reg cleaner.
"You've never heard of a program" does not directly relate to "Value"
You've probably never heard of ETAP but it's one of the best programs for circuit analysis in utilities.

Re:Who is teh best? (1)

kv9 (697238) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377823)

You've probably never heard of ETAP but it's one of the best programs for circuit analysis in utilities.

how can you compare a program that works with something so many people come in contact with (spyware) with a program that works with something so very *few* people come in contact with (circuit analysis)?

your `top selling' argument might have some validity to it, but i still think more people know about spybot/ad-aware [google.com]

Re:Who is teh best? (1)

Prosthetic_Lips (971097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377827)

Pffft! I know about this program, it is not even CLOSE to "the best" spyware finder out there. It is bug-ridden and doesn't find as much as the other two leaders (Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy).

I have a friend who bought it simply because it was recommended at Best Buy. He uninstalled it and threw it out because of the problems he had with it. If Best Buy didn't push it as "the best" (I think it is like a store-brand), it would have died a long time ago.

I rank it up there with Packard Bell computers -- if you know someone who has it, you know to stay away from it. Sorry if some of you are big Packard Bell fans, but the few people that I knew that got a PB computer were very disappointed.

Is that the right way to look at it? (5, Interesting)

penguin_asylum (822967) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377501)

I often see it the other way around...

If I'm looking for a good anti-spyware program, and it comes bundled with something that I'm _not_ looking for, then I might instead use something that's not necessarily quite as good but isn't loaded down with other software.

If their software is that much better than Microsoft's, then I'm sure they'll have no problem competing. Honestly most people install spyware without looking at what they're agreeing to, and the people who care about this will be willing to spend the time it takes to install a third party app.

Re:Is that the right way to look at it? (1)

DrLZRDMN (728996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377519)

Yep. The only posibility of MS winning this one is if they're program works flawlessly, which it won't.

Re:Is that the right way to look at it? (1)

TheShadowzero (884085) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377710)

"...if they're program works flawlessly, which it won't."
Which it doesn't. As of now, and the beta version anyway. On my Windows box, I ran Windows Defender two or three times and then ran Ad-Aware SE Personal. WD didn't pick up anything. Ad-Aware picked up 60 Critical and 100 or so minor risk things. Let's hope they make WinDefender (and Vista, for that matter) more secure than it is now, at least for the sake of those people that trust in Microsoft's bundled software (IE adamants, etc.)

They can't be another Netscape (1, Informative)

ebcdic (39948) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377502)

... because nobody's ever heard of them.

Re:They can't be another Netscape (1)

DrLZRDMN (728996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377534)

Parent does have a point.
Netscape did something, anti-spyware software just fixes MS's mistakes.

There is a differnce.

AdAware Re:They can't be another Netscape (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377633)

Yeah, when I think of removing spyware, I think of Adaware.

Anti-spyware should not be considered a feature (2, Insightful)

DrLZRDMN (728996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377508)

Seriously.
Why can't MS just make an OS which isn't so prone to it?
If they somehow made Vista impervious (without a built in addon or tool) do you think people would be mad at them for killing the competition?

Microsoft steals the lucrative business of fixing Microsofts mistakes. Spyware manufacturers also make money off of Microsofts mistakes.
Just some food for thought.

Re:Anti-spyware should not be considered a feature (1)

Mahou (873114) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377546)

microsoft steals business? if you catch a cold and don't go to the doctor you're not stealing the doctor's business.

Re:Anti-spyware should not be considered a feature (5, Insightful)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377566)

Oh, come on. I hate it when people make me defend Microsoft, but the fact is a lot of spyware is installed manually by users, via a bundle with some other product, and there is no way Microsofts OS can differentiate between user-installed spyware and legitimate apps.

So yeah, Microsoft is at fault for the security holes that allow spyware to be automatically installed, but factor those out and there's still a need for anti-spyware for the computer-illiterate masses.

Re:Anti-spyware should not be considered a feature (-1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377621)

there is no way Microsofts OS can differentiate between user-installed spyware and legitimate apps.

Even assuming that is true, it is still possible to design an OS where legitimate software works and spyware doesn't. It's called the principle of least authority.

Re:Anti-spyware should not be considered a feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377639)

So how about programs that edit the registry, install unknown device drivers, or make changes to the disk?

Oh wait, that would stop every single program from installing.

I know, make it bypassable by being logged in as an administrator!

Of course everybody will spend most of their time logged in as a normal user...

Re:Anti-spyware should not be considered a feature (1)

NutscrapeSucks (446616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377704)

How does "the principle of least authority" allow for "good spyware" like the Google Toolbar, but not the "bad spyware" everyone hates?

Most Spyware isn't doing anything special on a system level, it's a judgement call based on the desirability of the software.

Re:Anti-spyware should not be considered a feature (0, Redundant)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377683)

This is true, but is also true that a great deal of spyware installs itself into a user's machine while they're online without their knowledge or consent. That is a flaw in the operating system, that its default settings are to allow others to remotely make changes to your system without your knowledge or consent -- and you can't change this without third-party software and/or a hardware router, which even when combined are not 100% effective. People who know enough to use a firewall and something like Win Patrol have no idea how bad it is out there for a machine running without these; you don't even have to go to any site and spyware is downloading itself straight into your computer immediately.

But is automatic protection and education needed for average users? Hell yeah. I just finished fixing up on a computer in which the neighbor's kid installed something that was absolutely loaded with spyware. What's funny is that the kid is taking a computer class in school! I wonder what they're teaching in that class, how to play WoW? Christ. Anyway, my point in this paragraph is that we obviously can't count even on regular schools to teach the next generation even the slightest thing about computer security, so this problem isn't going away any time soon. We really need to try harder to educate people about spyware.

Lastly, I'd like to add that this is part of why I recommend Xandros to computer newbies. Explaining the difference between root and a regular user account and pointing them towards the Xandros forums is a hell of a lot easier than teaching a novice Windows user how to secure their machines. I've done both more than once. That "Windows is so much easier to use" is a load of BS, I think (whether you regard this as a flame or not). It may seem easier to use, but that's an illusion that lasts only for a short time -- just long enough for the machine to get infected with a boatload of malware because the user simply doesn't know any better and security has always way down on the list for MS.

Re:Anti-spyware should not be considered a feature (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377771)

With schools cutting core subjects like Art and just to cut costs can we really expect them to offer education in computer security. Especially when most teachers have no idea about computer security themselves. Schools should just stick to the basics and not worry about teaching "Computer security". It's not even computer security we're talking about, it's basic computer usage. We don't call locking your car door, car security system management. I think the problem is, is that people refuse how to properly use computers. People who refuse to learn how to learn how to use a computer, will be bad off, just as those who refuse to learn to drive and maintain their car will always have problems getting into accidents, and having their car break down, because they didn't realize there was a problem until it was too late.

Re:Anti-spyware should not be considered a feature (1)

Godji (957148) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377588)

Technically you're right... technically. In the mind of Joe User, however, spyware is something that Just Exists (TM), just like human diseases*, and is not dependant on the underlying OS. (After all, what is the difference between an operating system and a processor?!) In Joe's view of the IT world, the logical and only way to fight spyware is with an anti-spyware program.

Assume, for the sake of argument, that MS released a spyware-proof uber-secure OS. They'd be more than happy to proclaim it: "Better security! No more spyware! Ever!". And there'd be Joe User, plagued by spyware for years and used to it saying to him/her/itself: "Yeah, right - that's what they said last time on the XP setup screen! I'm not going to believe them. I know I need an anti-spyware solution."

Two months ago I installed Linux on a machine at home. One person kept asking me if I were sure that nothing bad could happen, or if he should install anti-virus/anti-spyware anyway, just to feel more secure.

* What I've said above is exactly the reason why the "virus" analogy of malware to human diseases is pushed too far. You can't make a human immune to a disease (yet) without drugs. You can improve an OS significantly.

Re:Anti-spyware should not be considered a feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377647)

You should install calm or fprot on that linux box, because of the reason your missing.

There are lots of people making malware for Windows, because windows is popular and vulenrable. Linux, good as it may be, isn't perfect. People, smarter people than those writting malware for Windoes, do write malware for Linux. Remember the reason why the Titanic sunk was because everyone thought it to be unsinkable.

Re:Anti-spyware should not be considered a feature (1)

krunk4ever (856261) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377680)

that's because the human already has an awesome anti-disease system installed. it's called the immune system. Windows' immune system is very lacking and that's why we needed external systems like antivirus and antispyware to help us fight off diseases.

Re:Anti-spyware should not be considered a feature (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377780)

But it's the same as computer disease. People who are lazy and don't look after their health will (most likely) encounter more diseases in their life. People who eat healthy, exercise regularly, and follow other health guidelines such as hygeine will have far fewer diseases. It's the same way with computer viruses/malware. Proper behaviour before you get the disease can stop you from getting the disease in the first place. Sure you could still get a disease following all the guidelines, but you have a reduced risk. This is the same reason insurance companies charge you less if you maintain a healthy lifestyle. There's less of a chance they'll have to pay out.

No one package to rule them all (1)

dj245 (732906) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377589)

The thing with antispyware programs is, no one program detects all the spyware (depending on your exact definition of spyware). I remember a review a while back (a quick googleing can't seem to find it) that infected a computer with a few hundred pieces of spyware items (not unheard of), made a disk clone, then ran it through every antispyware package they could get their hands on. They had an itemized list of spyware items and whether the programs (at the time) removed them or not.

Individually, they all failed to remove everything, even after many reboots and journeys into safe mode.

But if you looked at the list of spyware items, you could be covered fairly well if you used two or three antispyware packages. Spyware nasties change hourly, and there are hundreds of variations and updates to fool the scanners.
I think it is unfair for one antispyware company to be able to catch them all. This doesn't address the problem that windows should be more resilient to this sort of thing, but if you want good protection you are fooling yourself if you think only using one program to check for spyware will do it.

Re:Anti-spyware should not be considered a feature (1)

fastgood (714723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377790)

Microsoft steals the lucrative business of fixing Microsofts mistakes.

Look back to a year after Windows 3.1 and you see Microsoft putting out DOS 6.x with competitors' applications.
(the fifth version of anything is usually when it jumps the shark, anyway)

MSAV was a crude antivirus, MEMMAKER was a crummy QEMM, and DOUBLESPACE was a crappy Stacker.
But nobody said you ever had to produce a better product (as long as its copied and free) to kill the competition.

* "MS-DOS 6.0 had been released [wikipedia.org] following competition from Digital Research"

no offense (1)

joshetc (955226) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377511)

But thats kinda the risk you have to take being a software company that secures windows machines. They are banking on someone making mistakes in their software, now the company making the mistakes is attempting to fix some of them / release a program that follows everything going on to fix them on-the-fly. I believe Netscape in a way was much less deserving than Webroot.

Also keep in mind that Netscape's product sucked while Spy Sweeper is fairly good at what it does. I think for at least the next few years, even if Windows Defender is good that Webroot will still be around. People would probably be less willing to pay for their software though...

Re:no offense (1)

oztiks (921504) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377732)

But thats kinda the risk you have to take being a software company that secures windows machines.



oh no no no no no, let me rephrase that for you ...

But thats kinda the risk you have to take being a software company that writes applications windows machines.



Such things taint the ability to innovate with PCs.

This is NOT the next Netscape... (5, Insightful)

jerkychew (80913) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377518)

Netscape was a competitor to a product Microsoft sold. Anti-spyware software is little more than a fix for Microsoft's crappy security model that's included in its OS and default browser. There's a big difference here.

Microsoft bundled IE and bullied PC makers into not putting Netscape on the desktop because it wanted to put Netscape out of business. That's a bad thing. On the other hand, Microsoft is bundling anti-spyware software into its new OS to protect its users from a) their own ineptidude, and b)the afore-mentioned crappy software that Microsoft themselves put in place.

Where Microsoft wanted to get into a new market (the browser application) by crushing Netscape, in this case they're just trying to band-aid their operating system's vulnerabilities to (hopefully) lower the amount of user frustration in the future.

I've been an IT guy for nine years, and I've always thanked Microsoft for releasing bad, buggy code. The anti-spyware folks should do the same, instead of being angry that Microsoft is finally trying to fix the problem.

Re:This is NOT the next Netscape... (4, Interesting)

DrLZRDMN (728996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377525)

Exactly!
An anti-spyware company suing MS for getting their act together would be the same as a spyware company suing MS.

Re:This is NOT the next Netscape... (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377638)

Yes you're right, it's all Microsoft's fault that users click 'Yes' to every dialog box that pops up.

A lot of spyware did not install itself, the user purposely installed it. Users need more protection from themselves then they need protection from anything else.

Re:This is NOT the next Netscape... (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377718)

Company A sells a product that is lacking in a certain area. Company B sells product that helps remedy the problem. Company A eventually gets their act together and fixes their product, rendering Company B unnecessary.

It's an age-old equation. If you're fixing someone else's product, make what you can and expect to get out of the market when the product gets fixed. Because it will happen eventually.

MS is just doing what Apple started years ago: looking at ways in which users fix their OS and making those updates standard.

Re:This is NOT the next Netscape... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377782)

Anti-spyware software is little more than a fix for Microsoft's crappy security model that's included in its OS and default browser.

The problem is that microsoft isn't fixing their crappy security model, they're releasing the same "fix" for it as all the other companies were. Except for free. And bundled with the OS.

Go to bed with the dogs... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377541)

..wake up with fleas. If you develop for, around, close to, in addition to, anything that micrsoft makes, and THEY aren't making the cash from it..good luck, you are sleeping with the dogs and taking a big chance, and I would include such offerings as FF for windows, a thoroughly misguided and ill advised effort, albeit some of them are well meaning. They are still naieve from the long haul view of things and will one day seriously regret what they are doing to make MS "better". All you are doing is giving MS breathing room as they further consolidate and corrupt things, and they WILL screw you over in the long run somehow.

They are correct though (2, Insightful)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377543)

If they do not offer something that is both wanted by users and not included with Vista, they will be the next Netscape. A VAST majority of people are average computer users that would never seek a service they have already with the OS. Most would just assume the Windows one works and why use another one?

But if can include both better and different services to appeal to customers, they will have a chance. Having a better product alone will not be enough though. Look how dominate IE still is even though it is pretty well known that Firefox is much better. Users just do not bother to care because they just dont know better.

A chance only though, my money is on Vista to begin with - Who knows what problems Vista will open up for other companies to try to fix.

Re:They are correct though (1)

jftitan (736933) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377733)

This same logic can also be applied to the built in Windows Firewall especially since SP2 release for XP.

Prior to Windows XP SP2, people were concerned about firewall protection either through hardware (routers, NAT/PAT, etc), or software (Norton, McAfee, ZoneAlarm, etc). By this they kept thinking oh the built in Windows Firewall was never activated by default, or too complicated to configure/setup, so people went out and purchased 3rd party software and/or hardware.

Since SP2 released for XP, many people dumped the 3rd party firewall software because Windows indicated that its own built in firewall was working. This also lead to the crippling of third party software like Norton IS, which then required a special download WMI applet to allow NIS to communicate with Windows.

This was inconvenancing to most, thus people took the easy route and started using the built in firewall. Same situation applies for anti-spyware. Since MS Anti-Spyware (now Defender), is going to be included into Vista, then who needs a outside program doing the same task.

  I know I teach my clients to understand that if they have more than one product installed doing the same repetitive task, then they could possibly cause more harm than good. AV are a great example, including AS software.

People will take the easy road. use what is already installed until it proves to be useless. That what happened to windows firewall before SP2.

In the security biz, there's always room (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377552)

You can't simply compare the anti-malware market to others.

With browsers, you want to be compatible. You have a self perpetuating cycle where your browser wants to be compatible to the pages where the page creators want to be compatible with your browser. Thus the widest used browser is the most compatible, and thus "the best" if you want to be able to view everything "well".

The same applies to media players, MP3 players and everything else where all sides involved want to be as compatible as possible.

In the anti-malware biz, it's exactly the other way. You do NOT want to be "compatible" with the malware.

Take a look at antivirus soft and the corresponding trojans, viruses etc. There is almost no trojan today that does NOT try to disable Kaspersky, McAffee, NOD etc. Trying to tear down the WinXP firewall is a given.

I bet my computer against an old ice cone that the FIRST thing that happens as soon as the Windows "Anti-Malware" comes out is that every trojan that could be disabled by it comes with some Anti-Anti-MS-Malware functions, just like they do now with Anti-WinXP Firewall functions.

In other words, there will always be a market for "small" Anti-Malware businesses. For the simple reason that, as odd as it may sound, they will have a higher chance to succeed. Simply by being neglected by the trojan writers.

Re:In the security biz, there's always room (1)

TheShadowzero (884085) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377671)

Trying to tear down the WinXP firewall is a given.
I agree wholeheartedly. Is it just me, or have you noticed that all the legitimate apps are questioned by the Windows firewall but all spyware gets through? I have downloaded legitimate games that the firewall "caught" and questioned me about, and yet when I purposely installed spyware through a warez site, clicking "Yes I agree to install", Windows didn't even recognize that the malware was installed.

Second best? (2, Insightful)

supremegeekoverlord (787205) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377555)

Okay, I haven't been following the spyware world closely lately -- and it changes fast -- but IIRC, when MS bought the rights to this program from Giant, most of the reviews I had read put it as the best antispyware program on the market. Now granted, that is a very disputable claim, and I obviously offer no evidence to support it. Still, it seems like Webroot came the close second here, so they have a little more to worry about than Mr. Moll seems to display.

Re:Second best? (1)

nutrock69 (446385) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377640)

That may have been the case then, but it most certainly isn't now that MS owns it.

I work in the PC support department of my company, and most of us also sell our PC support services to individuals who need help. For the spyware infestations, we always try the decent "free" products first. Then we try MS anti-spyware and it usually fails to find anything more. If spyware still exists after that, then we try Webroot Spy Sweeper which successfully cleans up whatever is left.

Sometimes for giggles we actually try MS anti-spyware first, then Ad-aware (which catches quite a bit more than MS), then Spybot (which catches even more than Ad-aware). For spy-crippled systems, Spysweeper usually wipes the remainder just fine.

For the record, we usually suggest Spy Sweeper first, but since the software costs money that usually adds to the bill. The sad state is that most people don't want to spend money unless it's a last resort. These are the same people that don't think even once before they click on a popup to install spyware. These are the same people who are going to think MS bundling anti-spyware tools will be "good enough" - that if it catches most of them they should still be ok.

Nutscrape v. Internet Exploder (0)

Tiro (19535) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377556)

When I saw the title of this article on RSS, I knew why Netscape was being compared to this product without any previous knowledge of the antispyware company.

It is sad that a company is primarily remembered for losing to Microsoft.

Webroot Spysweeper the best? (5, Interesting)

reklusband (862215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377570)

I've been in the spyware removal (windows consulting) business basically since there was spyware to remove (restart computer into safe mode and clean out startups) and I've NEVER had a client who used spysweeper come back and tell me how great it was. Usually they'd say the program didn't do anything to prevent or remove their britney spears doggie porn popups/virus/adware melange. I'd install spybot S+D, spyware blaster, and have them run spybot weekly after I'd removed crap. The spybot/spyware blaster machines ALWAYS came back cleaner. Now I just make them get a copy of Symantec Antivirus 10.0.2 and after installing the innoculations from spybot and spyware blaster, setting the default actions for adware/trojans to delete, and making sure it updates everyday, I get machines from complete porn addicts who refuse to switch to firefox that only have 20 or so (very very minor) issues after 3-6 months as opposed to 20,000(literally) in one month. And for the record I normally HATE symantec products, but their pro (non norton) antivirus is the best I've used.

Re:Webroot Spysweeper the best? (1)

Xeriar (456730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377821)

Ditto. Spyweeper has broken several of my customer's machines during abortive attempts at removing Spyware. That's not a particularly healthy means of 'fixing' Spyware problems.

ms and spyware (1)

sirTifiable (790978) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377575)

is this really still a problem? Geez I run hundreds of Windows and Linux desktops with no spyware/malware/crapware problems. If I can create a windows image that stops this surely Microsoft can.

email (2, Funny)

LittleBigScript (618162) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377577)

Simple. Include email functionality. It will happen anyway.

This is a no-brainer (3, Insightful)

robotoil (627969) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377597)

Trust MS for my net security? Not on their track record.

Protection software for MS' anti-spyware software (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15377601)

Maybe they could start writing software to protect against the flaws in MS' new anti-spyware software.

So... (1)

Marthisdil (606679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377628)

Idiots like this guy...think his product is "first best". Then why is it, on a severely infected machine, I can run MS, Webroot, AdAware, and Dr. Spyware, and they all find stuff that the others don't? Wonder why that is. Perhaps because there is no BEST in the industry?

Doors locked, now what about Windows? (2, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377634)

"Webroot's CEO David Moll maintains that 'The taking of a second-best product in this space [i.e. Vista's Defender, f.k.a. AntiSpyware] is akin to locking half the doors in your house,'"

His product may lock all the doors in the house, but Windows is still wide-open. If you want a secure house, don't start with a modular home that fell off the truck a few times during transport.

Desperation (2, Informative)

gjuk (940514) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377637)

Basically - MS acquired Giant and started offering free Spyware within XP SP2. I'm sure these guys would have liked to have been acquired by MS - they might even have been in the running. No chance of a trade sale now - they've taken too much funding to provide backers with an attractive exit, and now they're stuck with having to fight against a product which will not only be free, but be part of the operating system which really needs it. Other than Firefox (which is also free), how many pieces of software have ever beaten that combination in the mass market? Given that it's impossible for most people to determine which is the better anti spyware product, the CEO's claim that people will choose a superior solution is pretty weak. Their options now are pretty rapidly to widen the offering (in which case the CEO's claim is pointless) or to provide a niche service to businesses (which is fine). The lesson? You can occasionally make money by offering a single software solution, but if you're betting your shirt - back a company that has more than omne product.

Why this one? (1)

freitasm (444970) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377705)

That sound like spam to me. Why bother about a company no one has ever heard about before. Why no talks about Lavasoftware, which makes a very good produc, or Symantec, or PC Tools Software?

Second Netscape? There are too many to count. (4, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377728)

The interesting issue here is whether this need for broadening the offer would be the case also for other leading companies subject to similar 'bundled-with' competition.

It's a good thing to quote that "bundled-with" because the term is misleading. No one cares if M$ or anyone else gives away a text editor. What matters is if they make it so no other text editor will work. The Netscape complaint was that M$ strong armed vendors to gain a desktop software monopoly and then abused that monopoly in all sorts of ways to make it a huge pain in the neck to run Netscape on the desktop so that they could steal Netscapes' server market. The tactics included constantly changing the user's defaults back to IE and a combined smear and code breakage like they did with DRDOS.

It's all very nasty and they keep doing it, over and over. They have done it with Office Software to Lotus and Word Perfect, they have done it with backup software, browsers and just about anything you can think of. The people who want to own the worlds computers want to own every piece of it. The developers ran off a long time ago except for a few large companies and even they are looking for a way out. The current fights are over media and, yes, antivirus.

The most obvious result of all of these fights is a decidedly second rate user experience. So many second rate programs have been kludged together, they hardly work. All the hooks and barbs M$ made for others, they have to deal with themselves. Add a bit of DRM and remove the last of the companies trying to patch up your system and you get Vista, the five year development flop. It's kind of like watching an oil filled megatanker fall into the moon.

Information about the DRDOS example can be found here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20050313031916/www.ki ckassgear.com/Articles/Microsoft.htm

Windoze performance information can be found anywhere Windoze is run. Just wait for them to curse.

Re:Second Netscape? There are too many to count. (1)

Zaphod2016 (971897) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377832)

Wow, I feel old now.

The DR DOS example is classic Bill Gates:

  1. State something which is technically foolish (640Kb is all anyone will ever need)
  2. Ignore the market for awhile, wait for someone else to come along and actually *fix* the issue
  3. Beg, borrow, steal. (Ok, ok, no begging.)

Why is anyone shocked by this guy's behavior? Even before building a 20-year history of "Supreme Weasel" he was dumpster diving and selling other people's software. It's ALMOST as irrational as electing 2 shills from the oil industry to the White House and then complaining about "oil addiction".

I have a question (5, Interesting)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377738)

Considering that Alexa is installed with IE 6 by default and it was known spyware even when IE6 came out, why trust Microsoft's anti-spyware? I'm really not trying to just troll here, but if they bundled IE with links to a known spyware provider in the first place, one has to wonder if a certain amount of spyware isn't deliberately overlooked by their program for business reasons.

Microsoft Malware (1)

peterfa (941523) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377747)

Why does Microsoft bundle malware in with it's new operating system? That should kill out the competition in the malware market and make it easier on the rest of us with a homogenized environment. No more spyware trouble :D

Huh? (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377776)

... what the hell is this "spyware" you speak of?

Is it some kind of game?

;-)

Spy Sweeper Is A Dud Anyway (1)

chromozone (847904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377779)

I have had Spy Sweeper on my XP Desktop for over a year. It is always freezing up and/or choking. I can't even turn the computer off without it hanging and spitting up nag screens etc. I only bring it up for the weekly scan now and don't use it when surfing. I keep the program updated and even after clean installs the thing doesn't work like it did a few years ago. I don't think Microsoft is their only problem. I won't be renewing for this software because of its own issues.

My, they are full of themselves, aren't they? (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377800)

To be analagous to the Netscape situation, they would have to be clearly the best product in their category before Microsoft moves in. They are not. There are several other anti-spyware products that are as good as or even better than SpySweeper, some free, and some for-pay.

Deep Trouble (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377802)

I use Windows Defender on XP. I also use Spybot S& D, Ad Aware Personal, Spyware Guard and Spyware Blaster. Their problem is that, in the home user market, there are so many good free tools that the marketplace is shrinking for "for profit" spyware elimination.

They'll be able to insure a place in the "business" market by producing a product that is superior to Microsoft's.

LK

Kinda funny... (1)

lucky130 (267588) | more than 8 years ago | (#15377815)

I like how many clamoured for M$ to include an anti-spyware solution and now, depending on how some people decide to act, litigation may keep it from being bundled. I'm not saying it will happen, or that anyone will even try, I just found it a little entertaining. And I'm also not saying that it should be bundled.
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