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.

SpySheriff (via McAfee)

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


Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign


Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,498 other subscribers

5 replies on “Windows Defender will start treating scareware cleaner/optimizer apps as malware”

  1. Remember ZoneAlarm? It was as highly recommended in the past (10-15 years ago) as Malwarebytes antimalware is today. When it started losing market it tried to use this kind of scareware tactics(2010). It backfired and that was probably the last nail in it’s coffin. It is available today, but how many use it? How many know it?

  2. Wow. Finally they’ll get rid of McAfee… that is installed by almost all notebook manufacturers by default, also with Adobe Reader and Intel divers and with your breakfast cereal. God I hate McAfee!

  3. I’d like to see Windows Defender tackle Windows’ built-in Surveillance/Spyware and have the entire system implode.

Comments are closed.