Microsoft has announced that its antivirus and anti-malware software will start treating free application that try to scare you into upgrading to paid software as “unwanted software.”
That means they’ll be removed by Windows Defender, just like other malware.
Microsoft says it’s expanding its definition of unwanted software to include program “that display coercive messaging” such as reporting “errors in an exaggerated or alarming manner about the user’s system and requires users to pay for fixing the errors.”
The most common type of application targeted by this move are so-called “optimizer” or “cleaner” apps that are supposed to improve system performance, clean your disk drive, or perform other optimizations.
But if you’ve ever downloaded one of those applications and run it, only to be told something like “13 critical errors found, buy our pro version to fix them,” that’s the sort of thing Microsoft is taking aim at here.
The new policy takes effect on March 1, 2018.
via Ars Technica