Even Bill Gates Gets Spyware

from the if-he-can't-figure-out-how-to-protect-himself... dept

For all those people who are complaining about how difficult it is to avoid spyware and adware on a Windows machine, take comfort (or be very, very afraid) in the knowledge that Bill Gates knows the same pain. In announcing that Microsoft would offer an anti-spyware utility of their own creation, Gates said: “I have had malware, (adware), that crap” on his home machines. Anyone want to suggest BillG start using Firefox to protect himself?

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Comments on “Even Bill Gates Gets Spyware”

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Seth Brundle says:

I think you got spyware confused with something el

“Anyone want to suggest BillG start using Firefox to protect himself? “

I dont think you understand what spyware/adware is.

The above would help more with certain virii, trojan jpegs, worms. Spyware and adware usually comes with downloaded applications – Firefox cant help you there.

Pony99CA (user link) says:

Re: I think you got spyware confused with somethin

Actually, if the spyware/adware relies on IE browser helpers or ActiveX controls, Firefox most certainly will help.

However, I’m not sure you understand what a worm really is. A worm is a self-propagating agent that goes from computer to computer without user intervention. The browser the user chooses to use won’t matter at all.

Hexmathcoder says:

Re: I think you got spyware confused with somethin

You can’t seriously believe that worms and trojans “log in to net” so to speak, with IE or Firefox or Opera like Johnny End-User does. Dude, they communicate on ports and services the are open/exploitable. Bottom like Mozilla or Firefox reduce ad/spy/malware’s ability to operate…in comparison to IE.

Peter da Silva (user link) says:

Re: Not all adware/spyware is manually installed...

There are ActiveX-based installers for many spyware programs, and ActiveX neither looks nor acts like a downloaded application, and can be stealth-launched by cross-zone exploits without even a dialog box coming up. Microsoft seems to have shut down most (but not all) of the cross-zone exploits with SP2, but there’s still pre-SP2 systems out there, and there’s still reports of new exploits.

And even if Microsoft shuts down the cross-zone exploits, there’s still the problem that ActiveX is too easy to run. You don’t download and install ActiveX components, you just click “OK” on a routine dialog box. You can disable that by changing the setting for your security zones to block it instead of asking you, but that’s not the default. And since there are legitimate sites that use ActiveX (though fewer are requiring it these days), a significant number of people who use IE are going to be reluctant to do that and they’re expecting that dialog box to come up now and then and for it to be safe to say OK.

So ActiveX spyware installers will remain a threat even if Microsoft DOES shut down the last cross-zone exploit as long as ActiveX is treated as an “internet” technology. Until Microsoft disables the use of ActiveX except for components that are manually installed and known to be sandboxed (that is, don’t just assume all local ActiveX is safe and disable the ones that you’ve found holes in, as they do now) any browser that uses Microsoft’s HTML control (including the latest Netscape browser) is inherently unsafe and should not be used.

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