[ISN] Symantec security site trips over spyware

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Fri Jan 21 03:07:12 EST 2005


By Online Staff
January 19, 2005

Symantec's security website SecurityFocus, which runs the well-known
Bugtraq vulnerability mailing list, has been forced to retract one of
its columns [1] in which it claimed that only people who validated
their copies of Windows online could download Microsoft's spyware

The column, by Mark D. Rasch, J.D., who is a former head of the
Justice Department's computer crime unit, and now serves as Senior
Vice President and Chief Security Counsel at Solutionary Inc., was
posted on January 18.

In the article, Rasch wrote: Early last month Microsoft announced that
it would permit downloads of a beta version of its anti-spyware
software from its website. However, users attempting to download the
software are informed that "[t]his download is available to customers
running genuine Microsoft Windows. Please click Continue to begin
Windows validation." The website then uploads an executable file
called "GenuineCheck.exe" to the users computer.

However, in reality, users can click on the Continue button and
proceed to a page where they have the choice of downloading the
spyware beta after validating their copy of Windows or without going
through the validation process.

Today, an editor's note was seen on the article: "This column is in
error. The download site for Microsoft's anti-virus software strongly
encourages users to run the company's validation software, but does
not require it. SecurityFocus apologizes (sic) for the mistake."

SecurityFocus is owned by Symantec which, in 2002, purchased what was
until then one of the most comprehensive databases of vulnerabilities
available, for $US75 million.

[1] http://securityfocus.com/columnists/292

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