Direct Revenue – A victory for the good guys

I was pleased to read today that Direct Revenue have shut up shop.

Why should I be pleased when another small company shuts down in these sometimes difficult times?

Well this one has been repeatedly linked with creating ‘spyware’. Actually it is adware, the primary purpose is to generate revenue by displaying advertising on users desktops.

On the topic of spyware, I’m afraid I buck the trend for calling software like that developed by Direct Revenue spyware. Spyware has been around since the later 90’s (remember all those AOL password stealers?) they’ve always been detected by Sophos. The challenge for traditional vendors came with adware and other forms of Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs) because these often included an end user license agreement (EULA) which explained to the user that by agreeing to the software, they were agreeing to having their personal details collected and passed on and personalized advertisements delivered to them.

Security vendors couldn’t simply remove them or call them malicious for fear of prosecution for infringement of that license agreement.

A new breed of products took advantage of this and called them ‘spyware’ instead, and made sure that the lawyers were happy – and the term ‘Anti spyware’ was born.

Sophos detects and removes adware as well as other potential unwanted applications as well as detecting traditional ‘spyware’.

So the closure of Direct Revenue is one small victory for the consumer and organisations like the Anti Spyware Coalition (of which Sophos is a member), lets hope it is the first of many.