Arnold Muscles Spyware
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  1. #1
    AntiOnline n00b
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    Wink Arnold Muscles Spyware

    Hi,

    California sets fines for spyware
    By Peter Bowes
    in Los Angeles

    The makers of computer programs that secretly spy on what people do with their home PCs could face hefty fines in California.

    From 1 January, a new law is being introduced to protect computer users from software known as spyware.

    The legislation, which was approved by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, is designed to safeguard people from hackers and help protect their personal information.

    Spyware is considered by computer experts to be one of the biggest nuisance and security threats facing PC users in the coming year.

    The software buries itself in computers and can collect a wide range of information.

    At its worst, it has the ability to hijack personal data, like passwords, login details and credit card numbers.

    The programs are so sophisticated they change frequently and become impossible to eradicate.

    Ad onslaught

    One form of spyware called adware has the ability to collect information on a computer user's web-surfing.

    It can result in people being bombarded with pop-up ads that are hard to close.

    In Washington, Congress has been debating four anti-spyware bills, but California is a step ahead.

    The state's Consumer Protection Against Spyware Act bans the installation of software that takes control of another computer.

    It also requires companies and websites to disclose whether their systems will install spyware.

    Consumers are able to seek up to $1,000 in damages if they think they have fallen victim to the intrusive software.

    The new law marks a continuing trend in California towards tougher privacy rights.

    A recent survey by Earthlink and Webroot found that 90% of PCs are infested with the surreptitious software and that, on average, each one is harbouring 28 separate spyware programs.

    Currently users wanting protection from spyware have turned to free programs such as Spybot and Ad-Aware.

    Source
    "In Washington, Congress has been debating four anti-spyware bills, but California is a step ahead."

    awwwwww Arne got them By the Scruff of the neck

    Finally Some signs ..............Spyware have been ignored for too long now............

    --Good Luck--

  2. #2
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Nice spot SwordFish


    The advertising/market research stuff has been ignored for far too long. It takes no account of the operating environment and frequently conflicts amongst itself, destabilises systems, ruins performance etc..................

    The idea of compensation is good as a lot of people have to pay to get their computers cleaned up so that they work properly again.

    Difficult to actually enforce though? I would expect the scumware manufacturers to just go offshore where there is no legislation?


  3. #3
    AO Senior Cow-beller
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    A recent survey by Earthlink and Webroot found that 90% of PCs are infested with the surreptitious software and that, on average, each one is harbouring 28 separate spyware programs.
    Dear God! That has to be FUD, doesn't it? 90%?!? I know it's a big problem with many home users and clueless folks, but 90%?

    Anyone have corroborating evidence from other sources?
    "Data is not necessarily information. Information does not necessarily lead to knowledge. And knowledge is not always sufficient to discover truth and breed wisdom." --Spaf
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  4. #4
    Senior Member z31200n3's Avatar
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    yay for Muscles

    Does anyone know what is takign Washington soo long to decide that for the rest of the states? I mean, if one state is doing it, and if its going to be succesful (i know we will have to wait and see) then shouldnt that help get the ball moving faster than the usual government crawl?

    -z3

  5. #5
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Zencoder,

    Dear God! That has to be FUD, doesn't it? 90%?!? I know it's a big problem with many home users and clueless folks, but 90%?
    I would expect that refers to home/SOHO machines that are used for "surfing". Also I think that relatively "minor" items like cookies are being included. This probably means that cookies from sites' adservers are getting counted.

  6. #6
    AO Senior Cow-beller
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    Originally posted here by nihil
    I would expect that refers to home/SOHO machines that are used for "surfing". Also I think that relatively "minor" items like cookies are being included. This probably means that cookies from sites' adservers are getting counted.
    Good point...that's kind of what I was thinking, but didn't mention exactly. Hey, it's still early for me here...too many RumRunners last night. Although, it's been said you can never have TOO MANY RumRunners!

    I would think it should read "...90% of casual, non-technical Internet users' computers..." although that is way too wordy and specific, and won't sell as many magazines/newspapers, would it?

    /* Edit: so yes, FUD confirmed. */
    "Data is not necessarily information. Information does not necessarily lead to knowledge. And knowledge is not always sufficient to discover truth and breed wisdom." --Spaf
    Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made president should on no account be allowed to do the job. --Douglas Adams (1952-2001)
    "...people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right." - Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

  7. #7
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    Hrmm.. I wonder how much corporations are infected. I've seen many corporations stand by IE without any protection (even simplistic programs, never mind front line devices). The 90% isn't that far off except it should probably be 90% of Windows Internet surfers using IE. Reality is that a lot of our spyware detection products are "reactive" rather than proactive so we're all infected at one point or another.

    So it may be some FUDing but it may not be that far from the truth.
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  8. #8
    Originally posted here by zencoder
    Dear God! That has to be FUD, doesn't it? 90%?!? I know it's a big problem with many home users and clueless folks, but 90%?

    Anyone have corroborating evidence from other sources?
    Among home users? Believe it! Step into any university dorm and you'll agree. You won't find a single person that doesn't use win32+IE, and if you do it's because you found an IT major.

    Theres a rampant plague of outdated security knowledge among home users and corporate users. We are WAY past the days of simple "don't download attachments! Install AV!" articles and I attribute the 90% statistic to that.

  9. #9
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    The state's Consumer Protection Against Spyware Act bans the installation of software that takes control of another computer.
    Then technically, if you take the wording of the above exactly as it is written, it would be illegal to install remote control programs that many networks use to monitor their users, and/or to configure machines/give assistance, etc remotely.

    Any thoughts on that?

    ac

  10. #10
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    I guess that somewhere in the fine print there is a clause that qualifies that to computers owned by other people, and without the owner's permission?

    In other words a clandestine installation, rather than a commercial one.

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