Saturday, January 15, 2005

Microsoft Antispyware review

A friend sent me a copy of Mossberg's review from the Wall Street Journal on Microsoft's Antispyware Beta release. It is flawed in that it compares a free product to a rival pay for product (but neglects to note that rumor has it that Microsoft will charge a subscription price for this eventually), it fails to note the obvious: that Microsoft should fix their OS and browser so this product is not needed (or a stripped down version is needed), it's comments about hijacker handling assume the user is an idiot and cannot reset their browser homepage, and it doesn't offer any real testing comparison between the Microsoft product and others along with test methodology, thereby making this the equivalent of hearsay. I will give him credit for noting that it doesn't protect Firefox (which is less vulnerable in the first place, but not perfect) and it doesn't do a thing for cookie handling.

This article does a much better job of comparing the Microsoft product to others on the market. In fact, it's the best I've seen yet. If you want to skip to the nitty gritty of recommendations from the article, then go to this point where you'll see that Microsoft's program is recommended along with others.

In fact, if one takes the time to go through the test data, one will note that no one spyware product will do the job. This is something I agree with and have noted here and elsewhere before. Users need to get several products in order to protect themselves. I've added Microsoft's product to my arsenal. In addition to it, I use Ad-Aware SE (albeit a paid version so I can use Ad-Watch real time monitoring), Spybot Search and Destroy, SpywareBlaster, and SpyGuard. Note that all of these products, with the exception of Ad-Watch, have freeware versions. If Microsoft begins to charge for their product, then I'll have to re-evaluate my position on it (why should I pay for something from them when they should make secure software in the first place?). I run the scanners on my PCs once a week. I also run my antivirus software once a week.

As I read further into The Digital Person, I realize that this isn't simply paranoia that drives me to protect against spyware. There are very real reasons to protect my privacy on the internet. I recommend the book to anyone who is curious about privacy issues, marketing, and more and how the law isn't adequate to meet the concerns of many. Amazon has it through their resellers at decent prices.

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