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Some Users Like Adware...go figure

Discussion in 'The Attic' started by bb28, Apr 23, 2008.

    Apr 23, 2008
  1. bb28

    bb28 Meister Member

    Occupation:
    Customer Service
    Location:
    US
    Microsoft Figures Show Some Users May Like Adware

    Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service Tue Apr 22, 12:20 PM ET

    It would seem logical to think most Internet users are annoyed by software that causes pop-up advertisements to appear on their screens.
    ADVERTISEMENT

    But new statistics released by Microsoft would indicate that not all users are clamoring to uninstall adware programs, even if they're flagged as somewhat suspicious by security software.

    Microsoft's latest security data is particularly interesting because of the sheer number of machines that the company can electronically survey with one of its free security programs, the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT).

    The MSRT is a low-end security tool that removes some of the most common classes of malicious software. The MSRT, which is an optional installation, scans machines once a month, and reports its findings back to Microsoft.

    The software is on an astounding number of PCs: 450 million worldwide, according to Tim Rains, group product manager for Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group, which handles security issues. Rains made his presentation Tuesday at the Infosec security show in London.

    Microsoft released data on Tuesday collected by the MSRT from July through December of 2007. The tool detected 129.5 million pieces of "potentially unwanted software," the term for programs that may have been intentionally installed by people but have certain suspicious functions in the eyes of security professionals.

    Those programs can include advertising software and other dodgy security programs that claim a computer is in poor health, among others.

    But Microsoft's data has a surprise: Of 129.5 million potentially unwanted programs detected by the MSRT, only 71.7 million were removed by users.

    "Our customers choose to run some of this stuff," Rains said. "Some of them get some value from it. Some of them don't realize what they are doing. Some of them do. That's why we call them potentially unwanted. Some of them are legitimate companies with legitimate products. We don't want to make any value judgements on that."

    But obviously, Microsoft and other security companies do that by flagging the programs in order to alert their users. The latest statistics reveal that some of the most persistent questionable programs on the Internet from the last few years still have huge numbers of users.

    "The most prevalent rogue security software detected in the second half of 2007 was Win32/Winfixer, with more than five times as many detections as any other single family [of potentially unwanted programs]," said Microsoft's latest Internet Security Threat Report, released on Tuesday.

    Winfixer often ends up installed on machines by exploiting vulnerabilities in the operating system or browser. Once on the machine, it displays persistent warnings that the machine is infected, and the user can pay around US$39.95 to fix the machine. It is extremely difficult to remove from a machine once it has been installed. The people who profit from Winfixer have been hard to track down.

    The MSRT found close to 3.4 million instances of Winfixer running on machines, up more than 100 percent from the first half of 2007, the last time the company published statistics.

    Of the top five malicious programs detected, two were Trojan downloaders, or small programs that can download other malicious programs onto a machine, and three adware programs.

    Two of those adware programs, HotBar and ZangoSearchAssistant, are produced by Zango, an adware company in Bellevue, Washington. Zango was ordered by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in November to give up $3 million in ill-gotten gains from its adware operations, which at times used deceptive means to get people to install the software.

    Microsoft said it detected 7.1 million instances of HotBar, and 4.9 million instances of the ZangoSearchAssisant.
     
  2. Apr 23, 2008
  3. winbig

    winbig Keep winning this amount.

    Occupation:
    Bum
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    IMO those numbers don't mean squat. I know when I was forced to install that crap, I didn't use it to remove anything if it found something. I'd rather trust AdAware or spybot or one of the GOOD programs to actually remove the stuff :)

    Just because a user doesn't remove the adware through MS' tool doesn't mean they keep it on their system....MS is so vain :thumbsup:

    What gets me is the fact that they force this "tool" onto everyone running windows. It shows up in every automatic update until you install it. There's no way to remove it from the update list, if you choose which ones to install/not install.
     
  4. Apr 23, 2008
  5. bb28

    bb28 Meister Member

    Occupation:
    Customer Service
    Location:
    US
    I don't use MS or AdAware either but I do use spybot. Adaware lost some of it's credibility a few years ago. I don't recall the details but they were allowing what most considered spyware to pass off as clean. They took a lot of heat for it.

    IMO....I would think that a lot of people just click ignore when MS does it's scan is because they just don't know any better or they are clueless about what to delete and/or they just don't take it serious and don't consider it a real threat.

    To each his own....
    BB
     
  6. Apr 23, 2008
  7. happygobrokey

    happygobrokey Dormant account

    Occupation:
    student of life
    Location:
    canada
    lmfao at this. :thumbsup:
     
  8. Apr 23, 2008
  9. winbig

    winbig Keep winning this amount.

    Occupation:
    Bum
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I don't get hit with spyware/malware often, but if I ever do, I definitely wouldn't trust MS to get rid of it for me :)
     
  10. Apr 23, 2008
  11. Mousey

    Mousey Ueber Meister Mouse CAG

    Occupation:
    Pencil Pusher
    Location:
    Up$hitCreek
    Well, hubby's computer did get hit with drive by installs that took his system down. Nothing we had running on our system stopped it. No popup stopper helped, Windows defender didn't let out so much as a peep. The malware uninstalled (killed) Adaware. Norton's caught only the bloodhound trojan but said the computer was clean all the while I was sitting there staring at that stupid desktop hijacker Winfixer, and smitfraud was still trying to go out on the net and download its little 'friends'. MS removal tools did nothing.

    It took 12 hours, spybot, spycatcher, and half a dozen malware specific trojan/spyware fixit tools (thank heaven for flash drives as the CD drive was disabled, too!) and a lot of hair pulling and old fashioned cussing to get it back up and running.

    The only time I want something installed on my freakin' computer is if I want it and I initiate the install.

    Too many people don't keep up with what's going on on their own computer. Just look at the articles on botnets... So many computers are hijacked and people have absolutely no clue.
     
    1 person likes this.

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