Microsoft will solve the spyware problem? Not.

Microsoft will solve the spyware problem? Not.

Summary: The quality and quantity of Kewl Aid being served in Redmond must be going up this season. This article published over at News.

TOPICS: Tech Industry

CoolBeverageSmall.jpgThe quality and quantity of Kewl Aid being served in Redmond must be going up this season. This article published over at makes it seems like there is universal consensus that Microsoft has finally got it right and that Vista is going to make the spyware problem go away.  I hope I am not alone in thinking that this is just crazy talk.


First and foremost, Microsoft has not even come close to demonstrating that they can stay ahead of the curve when it comes to fighting malware. It is way too early to grant them victory. They were two years late in introducing Windows Anti-spyware beta and *that* program still recommends that you *ignore* the most insidious adware on your computer, helping to pump up the business prospects of the most invasive of desktop scumware.  One can only assume that this lack of judgement and lack of concern for end user safety and security will carry over to Vista Defender.


Second, Vista will not gain significant market share for at least three years. I read somewhere here that over 50% of enterprise has not upgraded to XP yet! The stand alone anti-spyware companies support versions of Windows all the way back to Win98.  Microsoft does not even support those operating systems anymore. So spyware will continue to be the scourge of the desktop through the year 2010. It is a little early to talk about nails and coffins.


There are two groups of computer users that already experience the “spyware is not a problem” state of bliss. Those that have purchased a commercial anti-spyware product and those that use a Mac.  Don’t ask me, ask Walt Mossberg at the WSJ.


And while I am ranting against myopic prognosticating… What is this “spam is just an annoyance?”  Did Microsoft make spam go away as well?  I was recently losing a few emails so I asked Spam Assassin to go ahead and forward all my spam so I could check it. I get over 2,000 spam messages a day!   Spam must be working and the damn spammers must be getting rich. And the anti-spam companies must be doing just fine thank you.


Do I need to put a disclaimer in here? Yes, I worked at an anti-spyware company for a year and a half. No, I do not own stock in that company. And no, I have no positions in MSFT either long or short.

Topic: Tech Industry

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  • MIcrosoft did end spam forever

    Geez, guess you missed this article:

    January, 2004
    The battle to rid the world's in-boxes of spam has got itself a heavyweight champion--Bill Gates--making an even more heavyweight promise: an end to the e-mail plague within two years.

    So, two-plus years later, there's no more spam, right? Just like MS will end spyware.
    tic swayback
    • Um...

      ...I don't get spam in my Hotmail account... just thought I'd letcha know...

      • I Do!

        I get a ton of spam in my Hotmail junk mail box, but none in my Yahoo Mail box.

          Tons in my Yahoo bulk, and a fair bit even in the main folder, all hotmail spam is in the junk folder, its fantastic. so.
      • So that means...

        ...spam no longer exists?

        Funny, what are all those viagra ads my spam filter seems to be catching?
        tic swayback
        • Maybe you need it, it may not be spam.

    • Spam

      Well I have not had spam for over 3 years now, none not any. But it wasn't Microsoft that ended spam for me, it was a very small FOSS company.

      Now, I can give my email addres to anyone, anywhere, and I will never receive spam. It's simple and it's fool proof, and it's Free Open Source Software.
      tracy anne
      • DANGER...

        There is a danger in spam filters. I lost a couple of important emails from my brother just because he sent them from his company email address. Also, try sending a message with 'Essex' in the title to a spam filter that monitors for the word 'sex'. Spam filtering can sometimes damage your interests.
        • There is a danger in spam filters.

          Indeed, that is why I never use them, except at a very basic level, such as to make sure the email I receive comes from the FOSS email proxy that I use. Spam filters are like using a machine gun to kill a sparrow.
          tracy anne
    • Yeah,

      ya just gotta love history sometimes.
      Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
  • Part of the problem is updating.

    No program is going to distribute a new version often enough to keep up with the changes in executeable name on a piece of spyware. So the defense trails the offense.

    Suggest the first thing you do is an online scan where updates can be made more quickly.

    I use TrendMicro's. The Java version is a bit more stable than the html version.

    If you can install programs you can run the online check. If you can't, Stinger (McAfee) or equivalent on a floppy can often get rid of the worst of the attackers.
    Anton Philidor
    • A good part of the problem is updating + users.

      [i]Norton's LiveUpdate manager pops up, and the user at the computer makes some sort of rapid growling sound and closes the LiveUpdate box. It's possible that during this process, they utter something like, "No, leave me alone," or "Go away!"[/i]

      How many people have seen that? 'Cause that's a facking [i]huge[/i] problem.

      I find that most users are more than willing to set their computers up, but Norton, McAfee, and the like are often NOT pre-configured for auto-updating. For some reason, Windows often is.

      I think the big issue is users, more than anything. If you remove from users their input on system security/maintenance programs or services, you remove a lot of problems caused by software alone.

      • Can't eliminate the user

        [i]If you remove from users their input on system security/maintenance programs or services, you remove a lot of problems caused by software alone.[/i]

        But The User is a vital ingredient in security.

        Even in Linux, The User must maintain good password discipline and, for phish that sneak thru the spam filter, pay attention to links before clicking on them.
        Media Whore
        • I USE linux always and haven't had one attack

          Even in Linux, The User must maintain good password discipline and, for phish that sneak thru the spam filter, pay attention to links before clicking on them.
          Ronjohn, I'm not sure which distro you are talking about but I use Linux at work an home always and have never had one single malware attack. I don't use a user password, just a root one.
          I wouldn't have any Micro$oft product near my HD. They are all malware magnets, but then that's what you get when one profiteering glutton supports another.
          I get spam, but both Evolution and Thunderbird have excellent junkmail filters. Better then anything Micro$oft can offer. It's just not in their interest to do so.

  • The working alternative

    Or, switch to a desktop Unix like BSD or Linux.

    My non-geek wife and I have been using Linux for 6 years now, and have never had a bit of malware on our machines.
    Media Whore
  • You are wrong mister

    Actually I'm using Pc Guard, and again we haven't had a problem in our office since the day they installed this piece of Hardware into our computers.
    And we use Microsoft Windows 98, and XP.
    Here is the link if interested;
    Great product, no memberships, or monthly fees!!
    You should look into it.
    • Why Pay? Doesn't make sense!

      I'm using the best malware removal tool, and it's free. It's a little know product called Linux.
      • You are right..!

        If ALL you want to do is REMOVE malware from your computer.
        The Pc Guard microchip protects your computer from malware, spyware, addware, zombies, viruses, worms, trojan horses, etc.
        Plus NOBODY will change the configuration of your system unless you authorize it by entering a password in a hidden menu.
        Now THAT is worth paying, don't you think?
        • Worth paying, but paying how much?

          Their site gives all the info but the price...

          Usually not a good sign.
          • It wasn't that bad..!

            We paid between $100 to $120 shipping included.
            We couldn't buy Pc Guard straight from them.
            They only sell to distributors.
            Write them an e-mail, and they will forward it to one of their resellers.
            I got ours that way, (it was about a year ago), and I don't have that info handy, sorry.