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Phishing, Spyware, Crapware, Adware


There was an interesting flap when Microsoft released their first antivirus software. It seems that their software counted a certain Weatherbug program as adware, and so it is. The problem is that Weatherbug was bundled with AOL Messenger, and AOL threatened to sue Microsoft to force them to stop classifying Weatherbug as a "potential privacy risk." In the end, Microsoft backed down and users of their antivirus software no longer get warnings about Weatherbug.

My point here is not to snark Microsoft. There is a deeper issue: Who gets to decide what is malware? Do we leave it up to whoever has the most lawyers? And if even Microsoft can be pushed around, what chance to smaller malware protection programs have? A better approach, and that of Outfoxed, is to let people choose their own experts, and gather trust data from a large number of sources.

As the lines between malware and legitament software become blurry, it will become more important that these judgement calls are made by (or mediated by) people you trust, and not left to companies with unknown motives.

Note: Microsoft no longer recognizes Claria products as spyware. Claria is one of the most established spyware companies around, so this change of policy is like an exterminator who tells you they will no longer be killing some species of cockroaches.


If anyone in your informer network discovers a Phishing website and marks it as dangerous, you will know about it almost immediately. You are able to benefit from the expertise and experience of all your informers, and the actions of one person can save thousands of others from a dangerous site.