Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


A lemons market for … anti-spyware

Anti-spyware software has many of the issues that other privacy software has had.* It’s hard to understand the technical means by which privacy is invaded. It’s hard to see that you have (some) spyware. And it’s hard to evaluate what anti-spyware software works, and what doesn’t.

Well, it was.

Eric Howes has started testing anti-spyware, and finds that it all sucks:

No single anti-spyware scanner removes everything. (1) Even the best-performing anti-spyware scanner in these tests missed fully one quarter of the “critical” files and Registry entries.

I hope that broad-circulation home PC magazines pick up his work, and send him loads of money to test more. Given that signaling is hard in this market, we need a consumer reports.

* I originally analyzed this in thinking about why Zero-Knowledge’s Freedom anonymous internet service didn’t take over the world. The big difference is that much spyware is intrusive, popping up windows and taking you to porn sites, motivating you to go find anti-spyware software.

(Via Slashdot.)