New Group Aims to Curb 'Badware'

Google, Sun Microsystems and Lenovo have joined together to co-sponsor StopBadware.org, a Web site that aims to combat the rising tide of spyware and other deceptive programs. The project is being led by the Berkman Center at Harvard and the Oxford Internet Institute.

The site will independently evaluate the various anti-spyware applications as well as provide non-biased information on issues surrounding spyware for readers. Users of the site would also be able to submit information on spyware that they've encountered for the team to investigate.

The group says its name comes from a desire by those involved to include any kind of malicious software, including spyware, malware and adware. StopBadware.org would work as a "Neighborhood Watch" type program on the Internet, relying on users to self-police Web sites.

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"In the short term, we aim to be a clearinghouse on anti-badware efforts, providing people with a way to submit their stories and their data, and using that data to inform our research efforts," the site says in a FAQ describing what the organization aims to do.

"Long term, we hope to build and participate in a community of organizations, corporations, and individuals who are all working together to stop badware." StopBadware.org says involving companies like Google, Sun and Lenovo is a first step towards that goal.

StopBadware will initially share the data it collects in the form of monthly reports. Later it hopes to use this data to combat malware and allow companies and individuals to use it to better fight this increasing problem.

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