back to article Windows Defender will strap pushy scareware to its ass-kicker machine

Microsoft will tighten the screws on scummy developers who use scare tactics to frighten people – particularly non-tech savvy folks – into paying for unnecessary software. Think applications that offer to scan your Windows PC for free, and then – conveniently – claim your computer is under attack by viruses, or has serious …

  1. Terafirma-NZ

    almost there

    Take it another step further and add any application that by default installs other PUA then for once we can kick Oracle for their continued inclusion of other rubbish with Java.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: almost there

      "we can kick Oracle for their continued inclusion of other rubbish with Java."

      And Adobe for including slurp's Chrome adware / spyware in their installers.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hahaha

    "Programs must not display alarming or coercive messages or misleading content to pressure you into paying for additional services or performing superfluous actions"

    ... such as tricking users into upgrading their OS?

    And this: "This requirement aims to protect customers from programs that present aggregate 'error' results with no specific details, without providing customers with the ability to assess and validate the so-called errors."

    Have Microsoft looked at their own error messages recently? 0x16c0029

    This is comical, I agree this is a good thing, but Microsoft, please sort your own shit out while you're at it.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Hahaha

        "An unknown error has occurred."

        A lot like their update description (paraphrasing):

        "We fixed some things"

      2. Chemical Bob
        Facepalm

        Re: An unknown error has occurred.

        I did not know that!

    2. Baldrickk Silver badge

      Re: Hahaha

      Can you elaborate on 0x6c0029?

      A quick search on the G only returns your comment.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hahaha

        "Can you elaborate on 0x6c0029? A quick search on the G only returns your comment."

        Gladly, it was a made up error code reminiscent of MS error codes. Meant to highlight the point that a bunch of hex characters tells us nothing. While the error code may be made up, the point is extremely valid, reference: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/wdsi/help/security-product-error-codes

        1. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: Hahaha

          I don't disagree with the point at all. While a specific identifier is useful in identifying a particular error, it's almost completely useless as the sole output of en error message.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hahaha

            "it's almost completely useless as the sole output of en error message."

            Agreed, and as is common with Microsoft, it means they have to document the errors online, as in the example I gave. I don't know what MS are doing with their web development, but the amount of redirects that end in 404s is unreal on Microsoft sites, so then you end up having to view a cached page on Google (if you're lucky).

            Just incase people think I'm exaggerating, I recently (enough to get this out of my history) signed up for MS Security Alerts, and upon submitting the form it redirected me to this gem: https://www.microsoft.com/en-GB/security/dd252949.aspx

            Which, if you Google[1] for dd252949.aspx, will helpfully tell you the page was once titled ''Thank you for registering" - so presumably my registration worked?

            It is a strange world we live in where all of this (rubbish errors, data slurping, half-written software) is considered OK.

            [1]https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:7jzhIgS2YxkJ:https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/dd252949.aspx+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&client=firefox-b

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It

    is about time. It's amazing that for so long Microsoft sat by and let people bugger their systems.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It

      It is not Microsoft's job to keep the uninformed from installing stupid stuff, anymore than it is not your bank's job to keep you from buying stupid stuff. You can ruin your computer, and you can ruin your bank account. All your choice.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: It

        It is not Microsoft's job to keep the uninformed from installing stupid stuff, anymore than it is not your bank's job to keep you from buying stupid stuff. You can ruin your computer, and you can ruin your bank account. All your choice.

        Good excuse to add a toll gate to skim software sales on the Windows platform with a 'Store' tho.

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: It

      It's fantasy. How can MS enforce this? Only possible on their app store. No way can Defender tell the difference between crapware and stuff people want.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. davidp231

    So by their own definition it would have nuked the Windows 10 upgrade stuff on sight, had it been implemented back then.

    1. elDog Silver badge

      Never 10? Are they also going to nuke their own stealth patches?

      I must have spent a year trying to stop the Windows Update from nagging me about upgrades from 7 to 10. They still haven't given up surreptiously installing telemetry software on my W7 box.

      Instead of all these announcements/pronouncements, lets just get back to:

      These are the updates and this is what each one will do to your machine.

      Click on the Accept box on each update if you want it installed.

      We will supply you with a complete list of updates applied, reasons, effects, and possible remedies.

      1. Usermane

        Re: Never 10? Are they also going to nuke their own stealth patches?

        I seen that in the Ubuntu's update manager

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Never 10? Are they also going to nuke their own stealth patches?

        If Microsoft force people to patch their machines then they're "screwing the user out of their choices". If they don't then the users get all their files encrypted by a script kiddie from wherever and it's all Microsoft's fault "for not keeping their users safe".

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Doubtful as I'm sure that the "upgrade" would have been a special exception.

  6. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    OK

    So that's no more Windows10 upgrade messages, then?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why now?

    Only hazarding a reasoned guess but, perhaps, they're attempting to reduce call center volume now that foisting a Windows upgrade on the hapless victim is an option. Just a guess.

    Took 'em long enough.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This would kill Android

    Imagine if Google were to put an end to all the fake virus warnings telling Android users that their SIM cards were going to melt unless they downloaded and installed (insert antivirus/cleaner/battery-saver app name here)

    Google would lose millions of dollars overnight.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook/ESET

    Does this mean that Windows Defender will also block Facebook when it forces users to let ESET scan their PC?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Facebook/ESET

      Fartbook should automatically qualify as malware wherever it has a presence on a page including any page or site with an FB like symbol.

      I don't suppose there is an app that will disable that funtion on any page to screw the tracking of those who are not engaged with FB?

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Facebook/ESET

        I fail to see how to see how a page utilising facebook in some way will put those not engaged with facebook in any more danger of "tracking" than they are on any other page.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Lomax

        Re: Facebook/ESET

        > I don't suppose there is an app that will disable that funtion on any page to screw the tracking of those who are not engaged with FB?

        NoScript: https://noscript.net

        Would not browse without it.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: NoScript

          Used to use it. Now using uMatrix.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only...

    ...this could stop all the phone calls I get from "Microsoft technicians" on the phone my cable company forces me to have in order for me to get a lower internet price because I now have a "bundle" package.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: If only...

      Are these the same experts that can't comprehend of someone having more then one wifi access point?

  11. David Roberts Silver badge
    Trollface

    That is Avast in the firing line.

    Of course you probably won't be running both at once.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: That is Avast in the firing line.

      I installed Avast on GF's son's computer because of the torrent of scaremongering she got when i installed AVG on hers!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That is Avast in the firing line.

      Agreed!

      Avast has made a ton of money using fear, uncertainty and doubt as well.

      What is very odd about the whole issue with CC Cleaner being found with a backdoor as Avast was purchasing it was that they released an updated version but used the same code signing key as the infected CC Cleaner.

      Avast has now been caught slipping their free AV program in with CC Cleaner and installing even when the user unchecked the box to opt out.

      A lot of changes to Avast over the last 3 years, none of them good.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Checkpoint, and Kaspersky???

    "Microsoft will tighten the screws on scummy developers who use scare tactics to frighten people – particularly non-tech savvy folks – into paying for unnecessary software."

    That pretty much describes their tactics...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sooo...

    ...Windows Defender will kill anything that tries to get you to install software by scare tactics.

    Turn off Windows Firewall and Defender.

    Hmm look like Windows needs to be nuked then as this "Security Centre" thing keeps telling me my machine is at risk if I don't use this software RIGHT NOW.

    1. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: Sooo...

      No windows will complain that you don't have anti virus or a fire wall. It does not care which vendor you use. Nice try.

  14. kobayi@gmail.com

    Good Move Microsoft

    About time. Not sure why it took so long to come to this conclusion. Better late than never. Good move Microsoft.

    Barrister Karl Obayi

    Technology Chambers Limited

    1. Spacedinvader
      WTF?

      Re: Good Move Microsoft

      Why should someone else get to decide what you install or not?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    soon going to be nuked

    took their time, eh, like... 20 years? If I remember vaguely something called "evidence eliminator", etc., this sort of shitware appeared in min-1990s...

    oh, but the windows defender's been around much less, 15 years or so ;)

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: soon going to be nuked

      >"evidence eliminator"

      The early free versions actually did what it said on the tin. The problems arose later once the authorities had decided it was only used by people who had something to hide...

      To some extent the same has happened with registry cleaners, uninstallers, file/disk recovery utilities and other PC cleanup utilities (especially those that claim to clean up after malware); the more they have been marginalised, the more pushy the advertising and harder it is to determine which are the good one's and which are to be avoided.

  16. Steve Jackson

    So many tired posters here. Don't you bore yourself to sleep or do you delight in the opportunity to spout the same old rhetoric?

    This is potentially A GOOD THING. As ever, one chance to get it right and one false move....

  17. Ali on the Reg

    I often get a coercive message from Edge when I load up Chrome telling me how wonderful it is

    1. graeme leggett

      I get 'coercive' message from Google about Chrome when I use the google search page in IE - "Switch to Chrome, a smarter browser"

      And no matter how often I click "I don't want it" it's there the next time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        then

        switch to https://start.duckduckgo.com

  18. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    MS is really reacting quickly on this one...

  19. Arachnoid
    Joke

    Obligatory Star Wars quote

    To quote Admiral Ackbar " Its a TRAP!!!"

  20. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Hey, Alanis!

    Urrr:

    "This crackdown will hit apps that trick people into "performing other actions such as taking a survey, downloading a file, signing up for a newsletter, etc" in order to remedy bogus problems with their computers."

    --> bottom of article "Sign up for our newsletter, get IT in your inbox"......

    1. Tempest8008
      Joke

      Re: Hey, Alanis!

      The Reg isn't an app.

      <drops mic>

      1. davidp231

        Re: Hey, Alanis!

        Well.... yes and no - yes, there is an El Reg app, and no because it doesn't work anymore - in that it doesn't load anything. Ever.

  21. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    Can we suggest some other things it can block? Anything in a web side bar that contains 'one weird trick' and 'You'll never guess what they look like now'.

  22. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    It should entirely be possible to get the location of the ne'er-do-well with extensive crossreffing from the wibbly wobbly webz, then lob a Tsar Bomba into said ne'er-do-well's general direction, which should stop spamz and general tomfoolery from said ne'er-do-well for good.

    Of course, collateral damage and fallout may be a small issue...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Tsar Bombas are quite expensive to construct. I think they'd strain even Microsoft's deep pockets.

      Also, I feel this policy might just fail when it comes to doing the envionmental impact statement.

      Surely a fleet of drones equipped with hellfire missiles would be cheaper, more practical, within Microsoft's budget and quieter...

  23. JWLong

    But, Think About It.........

    We'll finally get to see an anti-virus program uninstall Windows

  24. DMcDonnell

    This new feature just asserted that System Mechanic was a bad piece of software and tried to remove it on 3 Win10 systems here. Glad that I caught it beforehand and told Defender NO/NO/NO.

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