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13 July 2011

The war on crapware

People download and install everything from the web, safe or not. Malware takes advantage of this, and virusscanners obviously don't work.

Every now and then, we, the ones "working with computers", have to clean up the computers of friends and relatives because of this. Everytime we visit, that is.

The idea: the friendly Trojan horse

Programmers could compile a stealth anti-malware component into their regular software. A friendly Trojan horse. Because anyone downloads anything, no one would notice.

After installation, the software installer executes the anti-malware component. This component performs the steps that we have to do manually each time on cleaning up a system:

  • It removes the unnecessary components from the startup places
  • It removes any additional toolbars from IE
  • It removes search hijackers and other stupid malware
  • It will stop and turn off unnecessary or crappy windows services
  • n...

No questions asked. It does not ask the user permission to do this, since that would be a competitive disadvantage in the struggle against crapware.  It just removes stuff the we decide is crapware. To cover legal issues it could be mentioned somewhere hidden deep down in the EULA. That's how our opponents do it, so let's take advantage of their methods.

If the idea works, it could save us a lot of time. It may even result in a real visit the next time we visit anyone, because we don't have to fix any computer.

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