The site claims that “Our work protects people and organizations from becoming victims of viruses, spyware, scareware, and other badware”. That sounds useful.
The StopBadware project started at Harvard University and was turned into an independent nonprofit organization in 2010.
What is Badware?
Badware is software that overrides a user’s choice about how his or her computer or network connection will be used.
Some badware is specifically designed for criminal, political, and/or mischievous purposes.
These purposes might include:
- stealing bank account numbers, passwords, company secrets, or other confidential information
- tricking the user into buying something that they don’t need
- sending junk email (spam)
- sending premium text messages from a mobile device
- attacking other computers to prevent them functioning properly
- distributing badware to other computers
Badware is sometimes referred to as malware. It includes viruses, Trojans, rootkits, botnets, spyware, scareware, and more.
The StopBadware programme:
- provides Internet users with important and timely information about badware
- helps website owners, particularly individuals and small businesses, protect their sites from badware; offers resources and community support to owners of compromised sites
- engages web hosts and other key service providers to help them effectively and transparently address badware websites within their zones of control
- encourages companies to proactively share data and knowledge with one another; leads collaborative information-sharing efforts that create greater security for all stakeholders
- conducts high-impact research on malicious websites, cybersecurity econometrics, and critical infrastructure, to name just a few
Some badware may not have malicious intentions, but still takes away the user’s control.
For example, a browser toolbar that helps you shop online more effectively but does not mention that it will send a list of everything you buy online to the company that provides the toolbar. In this case, you are unable to make an informed decision about whether to install or use this software.
Another example is when you install a piece of software, and that software installs additional software that you weren’t expecting. This can be especially troubling if the additional software does something you dislike or doesn’t uninstall when you remove the original software.
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