Fighting adware with… adware
Picture this: A drug company hits you over the head and then offers to sell you a bandage. Some say that's what Santa Clara, Calif.-based McAfee Inc., maker of popular antispyware software, has done – albeit unwittingly, the company asserts. Last week, the well-known antivirus vendor found itself in an embarrassing situation in which a pop-up advertisement for its AntiSpyware software was being distributed through aggressive adware -- the very type of a program McAfee's software is supposed to block.
The McAfee pop-up was part of a campaign launched by the "The Best Offers" network, a derivative of the New York-based Direct Revenue LLC. In the past Direct Revenue operated as A Better Internet, or ABI. It provides adware that installs itself and then displays pop-up ads on the user's machine. Ironically, the ad in question states: "Proven security that helps prevent spyware."
"We had no idea that commercials were appearing as adware," said Joe Telafichi, director of operations for McAfee AVERT Labs. "The difficulty is that one contracts with an advertising agency, who then subcontracts with online agency and so on." Fighting adware with… adware
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