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Microsoft Apologizes for Serving Malware 171

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the caught-sneaking-one-by dept.
dark_15 writes "Microsoft has apologized for serving malware via its websites and Windows Live Messenger software. APC reader Jackie Murphy reported the problem: 'With Microsoft launching Vista along with their Defender software to protect users from viruses and spyware, it seems therefore to be an oxymoron that they have started to putting paid changing banner advertisements for malware, on the popular MSN groups servers.'"
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Microsoft Apologizes for Serving Malware

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  • Say what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @02:34PM (#18098956)
    Started to putting?

    Does anyone proofread anything anymore?
  • by Intron (870560) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @02:34PM (#18098962)
    What fool would be taken in by this?

    Personally, I'm downloading SystemDoctor 2007.
    • by texaport (600120) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @03:50PM (#18099934)
      "4 out of 5 dentists surveyed, recommend sugarless gum for patients who chew gum"
      really meant that 20% of dentists wanted you chewing the stuff that rots your teeth ...

      If you polled system utilities firms, I'm not sure whether they WANT you to buy Vista,
      or run an old rotten O/S that turned AV from a cottage industry to a major profit center.

      • by MS-06FZ (832329)

        "4 out of 5 dentists surveyed, recommend sugarless gum for patients who chew gum"

        really meant that 20% of dentists wanted you chewing the stuff that rots your teeth ...

        No, it could also have meant that those 20% preferred to tell their patients "don't chew gum" - or "chew whatever gum you want, but brush your teeth afterwards" or "sugarless gum really doesn't have any significant benefit compared to normal gum." The phrase doesn't say anything about what that 1 out of 5 recommend with regard to gum - if anything at all. It just says that when dealing with a patient who chews gum, 4 out of 5 recommend sugarless.

        5 dentists isn't a very large sample group anyway...

      • by StikyPad (445176)
        Hate to be the bearer of wikiality, but AV software has been a major industry since well before XP. By December 1990 the market had matured to the point of nineteen separate antivirus products being on sale including Norton AntiVirus and ViruScan from McAfee. [wikipedia.org]

        And don't worry, Vista is hardly the sugarless gum of operating systems.
    • by kestasjk (933987) *
      Recently gaim-2.0.0-beta5 started crashing constantly, so I checked out MSN Live Messenger. I couldn't believe that people actually use it for an extended period of time.

      There are these incredibly irritating ads that are always about what some celebrity has done (as if anyone cares) or some American football game. Then there's the window's skin, which is blue and shiny and stands out from everything else; if you thought GTK+ on Windows would look bad and out of place compared to something MS comes up wit
  • ... on the FA comments section. Microsoft is going to kill Google someday. Some stooge at Microsoft knew this was a malware company, and they took the money and ran the advert anyway. Would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those meddling kids.
  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@devinm o o r e .com> on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @02:36PM (#18098996) Homepage Journal
    ISR, Microsoft serves malware to ... uh... you serve malware to microsoft!
  • it seems therefore to be an oxymoron that they have started to putting paid changing banner advertisements for malware, on the popular MSN groups servers.'

    1) it seems therefore to be an oxymoron that they have started to put paid changing banner advertisements for malware, on the popular MSN groups servers.

    2) it seems therefore to be an oxymoron that they have started putting paid changing banner advertisements for malware, on the popular MSN groups servers.

    3) it seems therefore to be an oxymor

    • And what, exactly, does "paid changing banner advertisements" mean?
      Either way, it's not the /. editor this time, it's a direct cut n' paste from TFA.
      • I know. Which is why it's so disconcerting.

        If it was the editors, we could chalk it up to laziness. But this is coming from a supposedly reputable source with paid editors and other bells and whistles.
    • by zlogic (892404)
      wait, it's
      4) it seems therefore to be an oxy*HEAD EXPLODES*
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Its not even an oxymoron. An oxymoron is two words put together with opposet meanings, like: Dodge Ram, Bitter Sweet, or Windows Stability. The correct term here would be hypocricy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Nimey (114278)
        Contrast to a tautology, such as "Slashdot-reading virgin".

        Cor, I'm getting nasty in my old age.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Darby (84953)

          Cor, I'm getting nasty in my old age.


          You're that old and still a virgin? No wonder you're cranky ;-)
      • by duguk (589689)
        > Its not even an oxymoron. An oxymoron is two words put together with opposet meanings, like: Dodge Ram, Bitter Sweet, or Windows Stability. Microsoft Works.
      • Its not even an oxymoron. An oxymoron is two words put together with opposet meanings, like: Dodge Ram, Bitter Sweet, or Windows Stability.
        or Military Intelligence...
        or Bush Administration...
        or Microsoft Works...
        etc...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by RealSurreal (620564) *
      Maybe the article was dictated to a Windows machine.

      "Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all."
    • by PhxBlue (562201)
      What, no CowboyNeal option?
  • by govtpiggy (978532) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @02:40PM (#18099058)

    SystemDoctor2006 has made an appearance over the past few days, coming complete with pop-up windows to trap and then cause horrific damage to the computers of unaware users -- causing them to then rush out to purchase Microsoft Defender?
    The implication from the article that Microsoft is trying to infect your system so you "buy" the free to download Microsoft Defender is ridiculous.

    Regardless, this is a really stupid oversight on Microsoft's part. Reminds me of the p2plawsuits.com thing [wired.com]. Shouldn't a person knowledgeable about ads be approving these beforehand (at least in Microsoft's case)?
    • by dedazo (737510)
      I find it amusing that this is being spinned this way here of all places - I remember CmdrTaco saying they "had no control whatsoever" over the advertisements that run on Slashdot - specifically the ones for Microsoft.

      I believe that was followed by the usual "deal with it, it's no big deal".

    • That conspiracy has been flying low since the advent of AV software, there are still many people out there beliving that AV vendors write malware themselves to have a selling point.

      Fu.., if I wrote password stealing trojans, I'd grab the money and wouldn't be sitting here anymore! Even I can survive on 900k for a while!
    • by rtb61 (674572)
      Oh fine, their trying to sell M$ Live one care(less). M$ has pulled a lot of anti customer stuff in the past, would they do it and see if they could get away with it and then if they get caught lie and blame the 'new guy', we are talking about M$, they would do it in a second.

      Is M$ going to be prosecuted, are any of the executives going to jail, so what was the downside for this whole smarmy marketing scheme. M$ has a whole extensive track record of pursuing the dollars first and then letting their un-war

  • Each time I click a link from it, the browser freezes.
    • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @02:42PM (#18099112)
      It's much worse than that. Each time you click a link, somewhere, a server dies.
  • Nasty mal-ware -- pops up on my new computer system, tells me to buy yet another package I need to have an absolutely wonderfully great and safe experience while I am working... Oh wait.... I was referring to the MS-Office tools requiring an OS upgrade and visa versa, and none of the above are really secure at all because the marketing droids need another way to make money and security still takes second place....

    AKA microsoft doing business as usual, is it not? Which is why in my book Vista et. al will be

  • System Doctor (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mdboyd (969169)
    Malware or Malpractice?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... building an "OS" that allows anyone else who wants to place malware on your computer the ability to do it without your knowledge. Please click "OK" if you would like to accept this Apoligy.
  • With Microsoft recently purchasing a company that specializes in in-game advertising, I wonder how long it is until Malware gets a hold of my Xbox 360?
  • by atomic777 (860023) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @02:47PM (#18099206)
    Name: Windows.Vista

    Risk Impact: High
    Systems Potentially Affected: All PCs

    Behavior:
    Windows.vista is malware that gobbles up all resources on a machine and renders it unusable. Suggested solution is to visit the following malware cleansing site : http://fedora.redhat.com/ [redhat.com]

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @03:14PM (#18099520)
      Spreading behaviour: Disguises as an operating system and lures people into installing it.
      Known side effects: Steals personal data, installs backdoors, downloads code from the internet, has the ability to infect further files to prevent their use on different PCs.
      Protection: None
      Removal: Install a clean OS.
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      Name: Windows.Vista
      Risk Impact: High
      Systems Potentially Affected: All PCs^H^H^H^H^H^H^HPC's with vast amounts of RAM
    • by mgiuca (1040724)

      Systems Potentially Affected: All PCs
      Fortunately this isn't true. Only a small percentage of machines are susceptible to this malicious attack. Everyone else is kindly asked to buy a brand new machine (all of which come with the virus pre-installed).
  • by ehaggis (879721) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @02:50PM (#18099238) Homepage Journal
    Gator apologized for advertising Windows Vista. "Obviously this sort of malware slipped through our screening process, " they quipped.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @02:52PM (#18099274) Homepage
    Symantec says [symantec.com] "SystemDoctor is a Security Risk that may give exaggerated reports of threats on the computer. The program then prompts the user to purchase a registered version of the software in order to remove the reported threats."

    I completed the unpleasant task of helping my wife get started with a new HP computer, preloaded with Windows XP Home and a plethora of shovelware. We spent hours watching dialogs pop up suggesting that we download this, register that, and update the other.

    Practically the first thing that happened was that Norton Internet Security popped up a huge scary dialog warning us that we hadn't turned it on. The next thing was a huge scary dialog saying that it had found a security risk in her system. The problem it had found was that it apparently ships with no virus definitions at all, and required about twenty minutes over broadband to download and install some seventeen thousand of them. The next thing was a huge scary dialog saying that we needed to register with Symantec (presumably so that it can give us a huge scary warning at the end of the free 60-day trial).

    The next thing was a huge scary warning that we needed to turn off Windows Firewall, which to Microsoft's credit is apparently preinstalled turned on and functioning, so that we could use Norton Internet Security's firewall instead.

    The next thing was a huge scary warning that we had attempted to change Internet Explorer's home page from an AOL signup offer to my wife's existing "my Yahoo" page.

    Every time she launched an application a little yellow flag would rise up from the taskbar to tell her that Norton Internet Security noticed that she had launched an application.

    And from time to time it puts up a message box with no apparent purpose other than to tell her that Norton Internet Security is running properly. "Exaggerated reports of threats on the computer?" "Prompts the user to purchase a registered version of the software in order to remove the reported threats?" To be fair, although it did prompt her to register, I don't believe it will prompt her for a purchase until the end of the sixty days.

    But the thing is the most intrusive, obnoxious, offensive piece of crap I've ever seen. It makes Clippy look adorable by comparison.

    Presumably she needs more than just an antivirus program (ClamAV). If anyone has any recommendations on a well-behaved, friendly security program for Windows XP that isn't in your face all the time, I'd love to hear it.

    P. S. The reason we bought a machine with XP is that my wife has been stalling on a much-needed upgrade for about three years now, and what she read about Vista was what convinced her that we needed to run out immediately while we could still get a machine preloaded with XP. Do you think she is being included in these statistics that show that Vista has boosted PC sales...

    • by Sefert (723060) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @03:00PM (#18099360)
      The corporate edition of Symantec AV is nice and quiet. I stay away from any 'security packages' type of products because they generally include total crap that is just alarmist and irritating. I'd take a hot poker in the hand before I'd have Norton Internet Security on my system. McAfee's is just as bad (in fact, often worse, as some web browsing problems still exist even when the a/v and firewall are off).

      I'm also a big fan of Kaspersky antivirus. It seems to only call your attention to something when it really needs it, and has intelligent things to say, rather than seeming to act like it's trying to justify being there. Stick to just A/V (that picks up spyware like Kaspersky does) and a little hardware firewall - it'll generally do the trick very nicely.

      • by StikyPad (445176) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @06:31PM (#18102150) Homepage
        I've found Kaspersky to be a resource hog. My personal favorite is NOD32 [eset.com]. The interface takes some getting used to, but it works well, has all the features you'd expect without trying to sell you on a firewall/"internet security" suite. It scores among the best in hit % (typically 2nd, sometimest 1st), and it was the fastest scanner in several tests. They also have "bulk" discounts, which is great if you're running more than one system.

        Recent review here [biosmagazine.co.uk] and when searching for reviews just now (never seen a bad one), I just discovered it's user rating [cnet.com] blows away that of Kaspersky [cnet.com].. rightly so, IMHO. This is a nerd's AV if ever there was one.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gardyloo (512791)
        I would second the recommendation of Kaspersky (if you want to pay for an all-in-one system scanner and software firewall). If you want to go for the free stuff, Avast and AVG have both proven to be fine for me, along with a ZoneAlarm or Comodo firewall.

        The other poster in this thread level said that Kaspersky was a resource hog. I've never found that (except that big downloads on broadband can be made slower by Kaspersky doing its scanning during the download). Plus, its definitions a
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sporkme (983186) *
        Symantec AV often lags behind in protection and definitions. The worst recent example that comes to mind is the spread of hacktool.rootkit (aka about a million things), which was implemented in countless malware releases. Symantec was AFAIK the only mainstream antivirus program that missed detecting it as it was installed. My flavors of choice are:
        AVG Free antivirus [grisoft.com]
        LavaSoft Adaware [lavasoftusa.com]
        and Spybot Search and Destroy [safer-networking.org].

        Very little can get by this trifecta. When I suspect that a machine has received an inf
        • I'm all for spybot search and destroy, but why on earth do they not fix their simple gui button placement problem in teatimer. I know it's easy to sort out with reshack, though seriously, I've made my share of donations, why has it remained broken for years now?
          • by sporkme (983186) *
            My guess: so elitists like us can complain. I hear ya, brother. AVG is ugly as a gorilla, too.
            I gladly trade beauty for quality.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by PitaBred (632671)
      I just had to remove that Norton shit from my aunt's computer because it would take 30-60 seconds to scan any MS Office document that was opened, when it was opened. Doesn't matter if it just scanned it, that it was on the local machine, and it didn't seem to even try to cache definitions in memory or anything. It just got the Word window border open, and "Scanning for viruses..." in the status bar for the next minute. I replaced it with the free version of AVG, and it started behaving like the brand new
      • by Brickwall (985910)
        Yes, on a friend's recommendation, I removed Symantec/Norton from my home system and installed AVG. Seems to work fine. However, when I tried to uninstall Symantec, I used their "uninstaller", but still found some of their apps running in background. So I went to the command prompt, and tried "del *.*" in the Symantec subdirectory. Guess what? Even though I'm running as admin, there are a couple of files it will not let me delete. I've tried killing every process through the task manager, but I can't get th
    • by McDutchie (151611)

      You've had good responses but none so far have mentioned the most effective security measure you can take on a Windows XP system: don't let the user run under an Administrator account! Make an additional "restricted" user account for her under which she does the normal work, logging in to the admin one only as needed.

      Programs that seem to require admin rights to run can often be beat into submission by adjusting the Access Control Lists of the files it needs to write to, or by using "Run As" (which I th

    • One last question.

      What are the chances that Norton Internet Security will uninstall itself gracefully via the Add/Remove Programs control panel? (I certainly plan to set a System Restore checkpoint before trying it!)
    • by radish (98371)
      I use NOD32, it's very fast, has a reasonably small footprint and is very discreet. It even has "silent mode" where it won't show itself unless it _really_ needs you to make a decision (like "I found a virus - clean or delete?"). I have it setup on all our machines with silent mode on my GF's, and have it email me with any notifications. Works very well and she loves it compared to Mcaffee which used to bug her every day just to tell her it had downloaded an update.
    • by Phroggy (441) *
      ClamWin doesn't scan files in real-time as they come in; you can set it to run a full scan every night or something, but that's not really ideal.

      My personal recommendation, which others will certainly disagree with, is to run Norton AntiVirus without any of the other Symantec/Norton crap. Google makes a 6-month trial of NAV available as part of Google Pack. I suggest that after your current 6-month trial expires, you uninstall all your Symantec/Norton software, re-enable the Windows Firewall, and use Goog
    • by svunt (916464)
      I had exactly the same experience buying a notebook for a non-techy friend. It was a pre-configured HP, and a week later he called me to tell me that he 'had a virus, or some ad program' which kept giving him 'popups and windows that interrupt me all the time' and wanted me to clean the infection. That infection was indeed Norton Internet Security.

      Amazing how different their corporate versions are to their 'clueless sucker' versions.

    • by Tim C (15259)
      To be fair, although it did prompt her to register, I don't believe it will prompt her for a purchase until the end of the sixty days.

      In my admittedly (and blessedly) limited experience, it'll start nagging her to purchase from 2-4 weeks before the end of the period. That's based on my parents' installation of the full version, which started nagging from around the 28 days to go mark.

      Presumably she needs more than just an antivirus program (ClamAV). If anyone has any recommendations on a well-behaved, frien
    • by mgiuca (1040724)
      It's all true. Norton Internet Security is the most annoying malware I've yet seen on my computer. I really need to get a popup blocker to block its annoying yellow popups.

      The most frustrating thing is every day I turn on my Windows machine (fortunately that isn't often), Norton cheerfully pops up to tell me "I am not protected from 1 rapidly spreading threat" (the implication being that I need to re-subscribe, since my subscription wore off). It tells me this every freaking day. What is this threat?

      It's a
  • by Sefert (723060) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @02:52PM (#18099276)
    Along with the useless 'haha' tag, doesn't some wank normally add a 'defectivebydesign' tag whenever Microsoft is mentioned?

    Too bad there's no flamebait moderation option for the twits who apply pointless tags.

  • by VEGETA_GT (255721) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @02:59PM (#18099352)
    Reminds me of a UserFriendly comic

    http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20050130 [userfriendly.org]
  • The current method of influencing voters/consumers when it comes to issues that slow the acceptance of an public servant/company is to make a public apology to effectively put the issue behind them.

    It's important to note that in most cases, it doesn't change anything.

    [shrugs]
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @03:05PM (#18099414)
    Especially to those who always claim "You have to buy from a big company, that's better than free software where there is no company that you can hold responsible".

    Here's what you get: "Whoopsie. Sorry, our bad"
  • Oxymoron-noun conjoining contradictory terms (as in 'deafening silence')

    I think the right word is ironic...

  • More like, "Microsoft appologizes because a spyware company bought advertising from them, violating their policy, and the ad was shown to people in Messenger until it was reported and removed.".
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @03:32PM (#18099740)
    can anyone tell me if their ad blocking software prevents the user from blocking ads on Microsoft sites?
  • by gmuslera (3436) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @03:33PM (#18099746) Homepage Journal
    Hope soon we will see the "Microsoft Apologizes for Selling Malware" headline.
  • Gee (Score:2, Funny)

    by BCW2 (168187)
    I thought everything from M$ after Win 3.11 was malware!
  • Putting paid [thefreedictionary.com] is a British/Australian idiom for disrupting somebody's plans or intentions.
    • by treeves (963993)
      Interesting tidbit, but I don't think it explains the poorly worded sentence in the summary. If I'm wrong, please explain.
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @10:36PM (#18104372)
    they've been serving up Windows Genuine Advantage for some time now.

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