Stopping Malware

Google joins forces with universities to inform users about software that is evil, but so far all they've done is throw up an empty website.

Google's catchphrase is "don't be evil," but the companies that make spyware, spamware, viruses and other malware (better include Sony in that grouping) basically take the opposite philosophy - "be evil - it pays." So Google is getting together with Harvard and Oxford to launch a website - stopbadware.com - to inform users about those program before they download, according to the Washington Post.

You'd think, though, that among those  institutions - and Consumer Reports is involved too - they could have seeded the site  with some actual content. But there's  none on the site today, its launch day. And there's no shortage of information out there. The Spyware Guide, for instance, lists several thousand apps. It's all very well to hope that users will update each other at the site, but to get things rolling, they need to throw some resources at building the database.

According to the Post: 

The group also will spotlight firms that make the software in an effort to shame them and will gather data that could lay the groundwork for class-action lawsuits against them.

"For too long, unscrupulous companies have made millions of dollars infecting our computers with malicious software," said John Palfrey, co-director of the Stop Badware Coalition and executive director of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. "This is so dangerous because there are intruders in your house, but you don't know that they are in there or how they got there."

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