Microsoft just made an announcement on January 30, 2018, to crack down the growing number of freeware that scans your computers for errors and then uses alarming messages to scare end users into buying a premium version of the same program. A great move from Microsoft to make life a lot harder for those who make those bloatware programs.
Starting March 1, 2018, Windows Defender Antivirus (the one built in Windows 10) and other Microsoft security products will classify programs that display messages as unwanted software which will be detected and then be removed.
Microsoft is updating their evaluation criteria to specify that programs must not use alarming or coercive messaging that can put pressure on customers into making a purchase or performing other actions.
Unwanted behaviors: coercive messaging
Programs must not display alarming or coercive messages or misleading content to pressure you into paying for additional services or performing superfluous actions.
Software that coerces users may display the following characteristics, among others:
- Reports errors in an exaggerated or alarming manner about the user’s system and requires the user to pay for fixing the errors or issues monetarily or by performing other actions such as taking a survey, downloading a file, signing up for a newsletter, etc.
- Suggests that no other actions will correct the reported errors or issues
- Requires the user to act within a limited period of time to get the purported issue resolved
Here are a few examples that indicate that you have unwanted software on your computer:
If you’re a software developer and want to validate the detection of your programs, be sure to visit the Windows Defender Security Intelligence portal.
According to Microsoft, in the first six months of 2017, an average of six million computers encountered unwanted software every month. Browser modifiers make up 66% of all unwanted software encounters. Software bundlers and adware account for 27% and 6%, respectively.
So again, kudos to Microsoft.