back to article Malwarebytes back to square one as appeals court rules blocking rival antivirus maker isn't on

Malwarebytes will have to head back to court to justify a decision to block its rival’s antivirus services after an appeals court threw out the security shop's legal justification. On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit of Appeals overturned [PDF] a decision by a district court back in 2017 that agreed with Malwarebytes when it said …

  1. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    Why would someone run 2 AV programs on their PC? If both analyse a program, it'll take longer to load. Opening a Word document, 2-3 times longer to load. Just don't do it.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Why would someone run 2 AV programs on their PC?

      You'd think so, wouldn't you?

      I think Malwarebytes behaviour is a good answer though. You expect a company providing a piece of software or service to do a task would stick to doing the task, and not blocking software the user has willingly installed.

      It's a short stop from that to faking system problems and offering fixes for an extra outlay of $$$.

      1. iGNgnorr

        "You expect a company providing a piece of software or service to do a task would stick to doing the task, and not blocking software the user has willingly installed."

        How do you determine that the user deliberately installed it?

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          How do you determine that the user deliberately installed it?

          Ask?*

          Don't watchdog type programs fire up a dialog querying anything running it's not sure about?

          I find it hard to contemplate a hugely expensive legal battle merely for s/w being queried then whitelisted when the user oks it. Sounds like another round of quietly ignoring any instructions contrary to what we want to do or reseting on update for the same reason.

          * ignoring for a moment the potential oblivious ignorance of the user on the matter.

          1. Irongut

            >> How do you determine that the user deliberately installed it?

            > Ask?*

            Which is exactly what flagging an application as a Potentially Unwanted Program does. So Malwarebytes is doing EXACTLY what you want them to do.

            1. Teiwaz Silver badge

              Blocked isn't the same as Flagging.

              Which is exactly what flagging an application as a Potentially Unwanted Program does. So Malwarebytes is doing EXACTLY what you want them to do.

              Well, if that is the case, then maybe the rivals case against them is unwarranted.

              However, the article doesn't specify that's it's just a once only 'flagging' of a suspicious program staying resident. The article just says 'Blocked' like Malwarebytes software is refusing to share the system with this competitor program above and beyond user interaction.

        2. Mongrel

          How do you determine that the user deliberately installed it?

          Agreed

          People installed search toolbars & Bonzi buddy back in the day, and still would IMO.

          Things get tacked on to the install (if you're not paying attention) of 'free' software, a lot of which is harmful.

          How is the software meant to differentiate between "Totaly meant to do that", "But it gives me freebies" and "I snuck in the back door"?

    2. Nick Kew

      Why would someone run 2 AV programs on their PC?

      Because they're researching AV programs? Maybe a BOFH/PFY, or a journo for an article, or a student for an exercise, for instance.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      >Why would someone run 2 AV programs on their PC?

      Because they are following good security practice and using one to give a second opinion?

      However, this does assume that only one is actually doing the real-time scan and the other a periodic (eg. once a week) filesystem scan.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        I love the down votes. Clearly there are people who don't remember Malwarebytes original sales pitch from the days before they had a real-time scanning engine.

        Plus even now, if you suspect you have malware that your installed scanner has missed, get a second opinion for which sites like Bleeping Computer will recommend downloading and running Malwarebytes...

        But yes, this is different to installing and trying to run two realtime scanners such as Norton 360 and Kaspersky Internet Security...

    4. Persona Silver badge

      From user comments Enigma's offering seems to be very hard if not impossible to uninstall and it doesn't remove the malware it finds unless you are paying the very pricey 6 monthly subscription. In my book that makes it an unwanted program and I would be happy to use Malwarebytes to disable it plus get rid of the malware on my PC.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        @Persona - You do realise that was a negative comment like yours expressing an opinion that got Enigma wound up to go after Bleeping Computer...

    5. Gordon 10 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Good Question

      But if you find a definitive answer will you give my companies desktop team a call as they seem to think I need both McAfee and Symantec installed!

      (I wish I was joking)

  2. martinusher Silver badge

    Potentially Useless Program?

    A PUP is flagged by the virus program but its not quarantined by default, you as the user has the option to remove it or not.

    I've run Malwarebytes alongside Avast and they get along fine so I'm wondering what in Enigma's design or operation would convince Malwarebytes to flag it as "Useless"?

    (Why run two alongside each other? Malwarebytes is typically a standalone scan (although new version work more like a regular AV program) while a program like Avast has both real time and standalone scans. So you keep one operating in real time to catch incoming problems and run one or two periodically to look for more subtle programs that have slipped through the net.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Potentially Useless Program?

      "unwanted" is the word. Comprehension is impossible if you can't get the individual words.

    2. lglethal Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Potentially Useless Program?

      "I'm wondering what in Enigma's design or operation would convince Malwarebytes to flag it as "Useless""

      I'm guessing you missed this part in the article

      "Enigma argued that its software isn’t "objectionable" and that Malwarebytes was just trying to get back at the company after it sued a tech support blog affiliated with Malwarebytes that published a bad review of Spyhunter’s program.

      Which if true is pretty despicable behaviour from both sides (suing a blogger for a bad review in the case of Enigma and seeking revenge within your program by Malwarebytes). Both of them sound like they need a good kick up the a$$...

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Potentially Useless Program?

        I might be mixed up, but it seems that the review on the blog said that Enigma's product is s useless piece of crap. In which case, a respectable security tool is entitled to say so. Also there's an overlap between software that performs a function very poorly, and software that only exists as an excuse to throw adverts at you or to mine crypto currency on your PC for their brnefit using your electricity. So are we looking at s case of that?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Potentially Useless Program?

      "I've run Malwarebytes alongside Avast"

      Around my house Avast is considered a "PUP".

      I've even reached out to Avast thinking the behavior would immediately stop once they had been notified.

      Boy was I mistaken!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Potentially Useless Program?

        "I've even reached out "

        Arrrhhhhh, I hate that phrase and should only be used by the Four Tops.

        1. Grooke

          Re: Potentially Useless Program?

          What about Depeche Mode?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Potentially Useless Program?

      If I remember correctly SpyHunter was caught saying clean systems were infected and that you needed to pay to get the version that would clean them; whilst failing to remove genuine malware from infected systems.

      Please dont quote me on that though, the drugs for Trigeminal Neuralgia have screwed up my memory, but that is how I recall it.

      1. Dave K Silver badge

        Re: Potentially Useless Program?

        By my memory you are partially correct. SpyHunter would scan your system for free, then make you fork out money to clean it, but I don't recall it actually failing to clean the stuff it had spotted. I do however recall some complaints about it for charging £40 for a license whilst forgetting to mention that it expires after 6 months. It also apparently messes with the Windows bootloader and can be a sod to remove from what I've seen online.

        Hence overall it is a toughy. Enigma look to have some questionable business practices and there are numerous downsides to SpyHunter - but does this qualify Malwarebytes to flag it as a PUP? Tough one!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey, I've seen this movie before....

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/360_v._Tencent

  4. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Pirate

    How To Be Topp

    God, in a Law-obsessed American culture, their Judges are spectacularly obnoxious.

    If this sort of crap was allowed, back in the early days of personal computers, one company, Microsoft for instance, if corrupt enough and pretty disgusting, could have eliminated competition by simply removing or hindering non-Microsoft elements.

    .

    Not that they would, of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How To Be Topp

      It might have been before your time - But effectively this is what Microsoft almost did, rather than using technical means, they used their OS monopoly to try and win the Browser war.

      Its a bit more complex than this, but through shipping Internet Explorer with Windows, then inventing their own HTML standards that only IE supported - they almost destroyed 3rd party browsers. The only thing that prevented it was legal action, and then Google released Chromium - Which put Microsoft on the back-foot and forced them to comply with W3 standards (Even to this day, the fallout is still felt.. My company has a dozen webapps that only work in IE).

      Now though, Google is making a similar mistake with Chromium.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How To Be Topp

        > The only thing that prevented it was legal action, and then Google released Chromium - Which put Microsoft on the back-foot and forced them to comply with W3 standards (Even to this day, the fallout is still felt.. My company has a dozen webapps that only work in IE).

        Lies. You missed out the decades of Mozilla Foundation and Firefox Browser. MSIE was the underdog Browser long before Google entered the wars. What Google actually "toppled" (or rather extinguished) was the growing ecosystem of open-source web standards compliant Browser(s) that let users have full choice and control over their web browsing.

        Google is just another corporate abusing their monopoly position by heavy handed marketing pushing their software on users at every opportunity. Visit the search engine or any other Google services web pages without an ad-blocker and you fill find Chrome starting to auto-download and obnoxious popups insisting you "improve your experience". The unwary majority will leave such popular places with Chrome Browser installed and set as default.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How To Be Topp

          Close, but still incomplete. The first phase of the browser war pitted Netscape and its closed source browser against Microsoft, a battle that Netscape lost. It wasn't until the second phase, when Netscape open sourced its code (and that code's subsequent development was reorganized under the Mozilla Foundation), that the long fight for browser choice and Internet standards was ultimately won. In between, Microsoft's monopoly behavior was subjected to what many at the time considered to be very weak government countermeasures, that ultimately helped turn the tide. I have yet to see a coherent explanation for why Firefox later lost market share to Chrome, although I have my own theories.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How To Be Topp

            Still not right? Google WAS a major financer of the Mozilla Foundation, not sure if it was voluntary or mandated while it occurred.

          2. K

            Re: How To Be Topp

            " I have yet to see a coherent explanation for why Firefox later lost market share to Chrome"

            My guess is, the marketing (Google had it on their landing page) and also, Android.

          3. jackofalltrades

            Re: How To Be Topp

            Not just Android but the fact Firefox imitates Chrome so much that you might as well use one or the other, and since Chrome is supported on more tablets, better... Network effect snowballed it. Android was the foot in the door. And yeah, we're stuck with some pretty lousy choices now. Also, why does a browser need to basically be as complex as an OS? Seriously, I've seen sites that almost entirely ran on JS queries, glued together with CSS and HTML that were just placeholders to load and format the output of the scripts. Might as well go with a thin client and run everything serverside, at that point. XD

        2. K

          Re: How To Be Topp

          "You missed out the decades of Mozilla Foundation and Firefox Browser. MSIE was the underdog Browser long before Google entered the wars."

          Wrong - Mozilla had a very week foot-hold in Enterprise environment and your average user, who purchased a Windows Laptop and stuck with IE, as its "Got to be the best browser, right?!".

          Mozilla was for the Hipsters of the day...

          1. jackofalltrades

            Re: How To Be Topp

            IE was what people used because they hated themselves, or had evil IT staff/executives, hehe.

  5. 5p0ng3b0b
    Devil

    Free and Ad Free

    Scabs that charge 40 odd quid a year for 'protection' is no better than the ransomeware they are supposed to block IMO. Personally installing Cisco Immunet on all PCs nowadays. Free, ad free and likely to stay that way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Free and Ad Free

      In most cases, Free and Ad Free means that the users data is being exploited.

      And sometimes, even after the user pays for a subscription, their data is still used in ways the user is not fully aware of.

      1. jackofalltrades

        Re: Free and Ad Free

        Heck, as RMS said, nowadays even paid software is malware. It's a snake eating it's tail.

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