Feeds

StopBadware.org to name and shame spyware scumbags

Backing from Google, Sun and Lenovo

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Academic institutions and tech companies have teamed up to fight spyware with a new name and shame initiative. StopBadware.org, launched today by the Harvard University's Berkman Centre and the Oxford Internet Institute, aims to establish a neighborhood watch-style scheme that will put pressure on purveyors of unsavoury programs that snoop on consumer's net habits.

The project is supported by Google, Sun, and Lenovo. Consumer Reports WebWatch, a grant-funded project of the Consumers Union, is taking a pro-bono role as special consumer adviser.

The project has created a website, www.StopBadware.org, where net users can check to see if programs they encounter are potentially damaging or benign. StopBadware.org hopes to educate consumers and software developers as well as shining a light on firms that make millions using sneaky pop-ups and tracking software to spy on users' surfing habits or, in the worst cases, steal their personal information, such as credit card or Social Security numbers.

StopBadware.org will publish "user-friendly" reports on downloads it has identified as badware, as well as more detailed academic studies on the problem of malicious code. It will solicit and publish horror stories from net users adversely affected by badware (malware).

The project is directed and advised by a clutch of net luminaries such as John Palfrey of the Harvard University Berkman Centre for Internet & Society, Jonathan Zittrain of Oxford's Internet University, Vint Cerf and Esther Dyson.

According to a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project, about 59m American adults have malware on their PC. Malware-related problems prompted computer users to spend roughly $3.5bn in 2003 and 2004 on replacing or repairing hardware, Consumer Reports WebWatch calculates. Leaving aside the argument that such replacements are rarely necessary, spyware programs clearly create a huge nuisance.

"Badware and its nastiest effects - violation of privacy, identity theft, and computer hijacking - hit consumers without warning," says Beau Brendler, director of Consumer Reports WebWatch. "WebWatch research shows these and other threats are turning almost a third of US Internet users away from the web. We believe StopBadware.org is a great way to fight back." ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.