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Trends in Bullware 2007

Google sponsored StopBadware are proud to release their 2007 update on the state of badware. Good for them.


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'Your computer's security is not entirely dependent on the software you're running', says Todd Haselton at Ars Technica in the most misleading statement of the year. [Is it 'Ars Technica' or 'Ars Imbecilica'? Ed.]

The article in question links to the Google sponsored StopBadware.org where one can find a PDF link to their new malware report 'Trends in Badware 2007'.

Running a cottage industry in the security sector of the World of Windows has never been so futile, so stupid - yet so lucrative. Even Auntie Beeb with their ties to Microsoft make a regular habit these days of pointing out where blame lies in this regard. But not AT and certainly not Google.

Definitions

'Badware' is a term Google made up. They define it as follows.

Badware is software that fundamentally disregards a user's choice over how his or her computer will be used. There are several commonly recognised terms for types of badware - spyware, malware, and deceptive adware. Common examples might be a free screensaver that surreptitiously generates ads, or a malicious web browser toolbar that makes your browser go to different pages than the ones you expected.

A search at StopBadware.org for a term defined as 'parasitic symbiotic cottage industry enterprise intent on exploiting unwitting netizens' netted no results.

Perhaps one should try Yahoo.

Who Needs It?

The PDF in question is a long treatise for the clueless about the dangers that supposedly lurk on the Internet. It constitutes a seventy week summer remedial course in rocket science for this demographic. Such things are not only hard for them to digest - they're outright overwhelming and above all scary.

Is it necessary to so frighten innocent unwitting Internet surfers? Of course not.

Unmentionables

The emperor of legend thought he was walking through the city considerably better garbed than the equestrienne from Coventry but he was butt naked; poor Austin Powers simply cannot bring attention to a 'mole': things like this happen all the time. Outside of history, legend, and the cinema most often big money is behind them.

Something's out there and the adept know it and yet the media - and Google and StopBadware.org - can't say it. For several reasons.

  • Windows is the dominant demographic - why go against the grain, dude?
  • Were Windows not the dominant demographic there'd be no money to make selling anti-malware products.
  • Who gives a shit about security or getting infected anyway? Certainly no one at Google.

A Better WWW

Given a different 'WWW' - a World Without Windows - a great many companies would go bankrupt overnight. They know nothing about open source and wouldn't be able to sell to FOSS users anyway; they continue to try to scare Apple OS X users but with little progress.

Symantec, F-Secure, McAfee, et al, et al: they don't have a foot to stand on if netizens go online with Unix. Anti-spam organisations like the CBL, Spamhaus, SpamCop: same thing.

Not to mention all the sophisticated criminal organisations totally dependent on the current situation. RBN? До свидания.

But whilst criminal organisations are expected to remain silent about the dangers the cottage enterprises are expected to help people. So now and again they issue 'reports' with a lot of pomp and circumstance; and tell people how important it is to keep software up to date, use anti-spyware, anti-malware - and steer clear of those 229,734 sites currently listed at StopBadware.

But what none of them will tell you is that these 'drive by' attacks affect only Windows computers. If they told you the truth they'd be out of business tomorrow.

So they continue to make noise and pretend to act in the public interest. And the clueless Internet surfer gets PDFs to download, read, and try to digest and gets told there are further costs in addition to that cheap computer from PC World.

Postscript: Arando & the Badlist

Pretending to be helpful and warning people about things they don't know they don't need to worry about is only half the scenario: the following site representing a worldwide chain of luxury stores is going to get hit hard by StopBadware.org until they get off the 'badlist'. How easy is it for a little cash to change hands to get one's competitors badlisted? How easy is it to compromise the sites of one's competitors so they get stopped by Google search? Big bucks to keep the clueless clueless.

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From:  erodoto <gabri...@viamontenapoleone.org>
To:  stopbadware <stopbadware@googlegroups.com>
Subject: www.arando.com
Date: Tue, 09 Oct 2007 01:06:20 -0700
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Hello,

Google dispalys the page www.arando.com/ as a page with some badware
and our site has been flagged; we have, since days, cleaned it for
sure
but our site still remains on the black list...
Thanks in advance for any help
Erodoto
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