Thursday, February 22, 2007

Windows Live Messenger Ad threat

Well fellas! this news was released worldwide in 20th February 2007. But i forgot to write something on it. Now,i'm doing that. Microsoft has always been into arguments/contradictions and scandals. They are the targets of many hackers/crackers/spoofers/scammers.. Now, the recent news discloses that a false AD has been generating on Client sides messenger, that's apparently on Windows Live messenger.

That AD is related to security application and it warned the IM user, a computer has been seriously infected with virus or some other malware. Something like that, and the innocent user has no other choice but to purchase their bogus program. That program, as microsoft said, falsely generated illogical threats in computer so that users could be scared.

News ahead..
Banner advertisements for a security application said to report false or inflated threats appeared for at least a few days on Microsoft's instant messaging (IM) program, prompting warnings from security analysts.

Microsoft appears to have removed the ads, which were displayed in the contacts panel for its IM program, Windows Live Messenger, said Sandi Hardmeier, a Microsoft Most Valued Professional, a designation the company gives to people who have expertise with its products.

The program, known as Winfixer, falsely warns a computer has been infected with malicious software, according to Symantec. It asks users to buy a program to remove the unwanted software.

"Quite often, it reports files that are perfectly safe," Hardmeier said. "It uses a lot of false positives. Basically, it's a rip off."

Other security companies, such as Sophos and McAfee, classify Winfixer as a "potentially unwanted application."

Hardmeier, who notified Microsoft of the problem, said the ads that appeared on Windows Live Messenger tried two ways to get users to install Winfixer on their machine.

The first was via a pop-up window offering to scan the computer for problems, she wrote. Depending on the version of Internet Explorer used, Winfixer would try to download itself through an Active X control, she said.

The second way was through a banner advertisement that a user would have to click before being taken to a Web site offering Free PC-Secure, a program that is detected as Winfixer by most security software, she said. Winfixer goes by several different names, including ErrorSafe and DriveCleaner.

Microsoft had done well preventing spyware programs from being advertised in banner ads on Windows Live Messenger, formerly known as MSN Messenger, Hardmeier wrote on her blog on her blog, Spyware Sucks.

But Winfixer has proved a tricky foe. Advertising networks have had trouble with Winfixer ads suddenly being served up by their networks despite no affiliation with its creators, Hardmeier said.

The suspicion is that organizations have falsely registered with the networks and substituted Winfixer ads -- hosted on their own servers -- instead of the advertisements they agreed to supply, she said.

Microsoft officials contacted in London on Monday morning could not immediately comment.
Author:Jeremy Kirk

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