On January 25, a group including Google, Inc. and Harvard and Oxford University Institutes revealed an aggressive campaign against spyware and other computer programs that threaten to steal Internet users’ personal information and attack them with advertisements and other annoyances.
The group of companies and university entities, called “Stop BadWare Coalition,” is receiving free advice from Consumer Reports WebWatch and plans to launch a website to track and expose programs that commonly affect users. They hope that by providing the public with this catalogue of programs, users can avoid downloading dangerous programs before it is too late.
This coalition hopes to throw the spotlight on companies that manufacture this devastating software and gather data against them that could be the beginning of some of the first class-action lawsuits against them.
Spokespeople from the group point out that these spyware companies have made millions of dollars by infecting computers and entire networks with devastating and hostile software. And it is so dangerous because often users are often unaware the software is there or how it got there in the first place.
Spyware programs can do everything from tracking every keystroke of an internet user to stealing credit card and bank account information or even social security numbers. The Stop BadWare Coalition also plans to bring AdWare programs down, which can track Web surfing habits and bombard Internet users with unwanted ads.
The Berkman Center and the Oxford Institute are the leaders in this campaign, and are receiving generous funding from Google, the Beijing-based Lenovo Group Ltd. and Santa Clara, California-based software and hardware company MicroSystems, Inc. Both Goole and Lenovo Group are particularly invested in the campaign because their livelihood depends upon people being confident on the Internet and thus able to make best use of their products and services.
Microsoft Corp. introduced a free test version of anti-spyware software over a year ago and plans to include the final product, called Windows Defender, into the Microsoft XP package.
Added By: Computer Consulting 101 Professional Kit