Behind the words …

Have you ever looked at LS’s management website? The fact that the number of (management) people seems to be shrinking in the last few months is well-known and I will leave it to my reader to compare the photos and this interesting video.

Maybe it is about bragging rights again? … maybe it’s just cool to stand in front of the capitol in Washington D.C. and talk about spyware, who knows. I am convinced any other place would have done as well here, if it wasn’t for the US-centric view on a global problem. What I was amazed about, was the fact that most of the stuff they (especially one of them) said was not right away wrong, but this doesn’t keep me from nitpicking, does it? After all I am a German1 :mrgreen:

What “industry” is being referred to by Michael Helander all the time? The spyware-industry? The anti-spyware (AS) industry? Wasn’t it LS that caused a “first schism” in a back then uniting “(AS) industry”? How can they still talk of “the industry” while following their own “overt agenda to concentrate on revenue generation.” (Source: eWeek)? Also my sources told me that several meetings of ASC went without an LS representative during the last year …

Jane Whitty: “It’s grown more than the viruses that we experienced back in the nineties. Spyware is a bigger threat!” – hmmm. The only thing that comes to mind is “apples and oranges”. In my understanding of the language, the comparative requires two entities to be compared. From the context this can only be nowadays spyware and viruses of the 1990s. In this sense it suggests that viruses and spyware can be compared and that they can be compared with respect to either quantity or quality and still at two different times. Both are comparable on an abstract level in that both are classes of malware, but that’s about where it ends. No virus author would ever threaten to sue an AV vendor, while that’s possibly daily business in AS companies. And maybe Jane, your mailbox is simply not being flooded by enough spam yet – with all implications2 – so you think that spyware poses a bigger threat than other malware?! Do I hear “botnets”, anyone?

Michael Helander thinks that “the legislation” (obviously referring to US-legislation) will be hard to enforce in other countries than the USA. What a strange thought. The USA has a good record in enforcing their legislation in other jurisdictions as well, right?

Cookies. I love cookies in general, especially if they are home-made. Text files. I usually use them to store recipes of home-made cookies, since the other kind of cookies is well handled by Earth’s fastest browser. But if I was either not tech-savvy enough to use a simple browser as Opera or too lazy to get Firefox, I’d probably rely on a superior cookie removal tool in order to help other web-browsers to handle them. Okay, I’ll stop making fun of the naming issue ;)

To be honest I am less afraid of the big threat spyware than of targeted attacks and the overwhelming mass of malware of all kinds. As sad as it is spyware is mostly found on the machines of the not so tech-savvy users. As to the question whether educating users would help it, opinions differ greatly (and my position is well-known, I am advocating educating users). Botnet owners have recognized this fact after so-called “rogue AS-vendors” were already selling their spyware disguised as anti-spyware.

Although it was nice to finally see a new face in the video and even hear an official statement, most of the points were rather shallow statements of facts than statements of future intentions on how to deal with it on the technical level. An answer as superficial as you would expect it from an organization such as ASC, “based on consensus”, but not from representatives of a security company that takes pride in its technology to fight the common enemy.

// Oliver

  1. … meaning I cannot handle humor of any kind :mrgreen: []
  2. … which includes loss of valid mails (ham) in case of automatic filtering and a lot of hassle with manual filtering. To give you a figure, I get about 200 spam mails a day at the moment. []
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