Microsoft MVP Sandi Dawn Hardmeier has been researching a lot about Winfixer & Messenger Plus!.
If you are not familiar with both, here’s a brief info:
Messenger Plus! is a free add-on for Microsoft’s Messenger program. It is not developed by Microsoft. It’s a 3rd party software.
Winfixer is a rogue antispyware program. It’s a SECURITY RISK – See Symantec’s article on Winfixer Symantec is one of the security vendors out there that detects WinFixer and they’ve been updating the detections for it.
Sandi has the blog entries on this Winfixer and it’s much better to read than Symantec’s article because Sandi’s article will show you what Winfixer does in your computer.
So why Sandi is spending too much energy with the above? because it’s alarming.
Some alarms includes:
ALARM 1: Messenger Plus! conflicts with some programs. An example http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1038788&SiteID=1
ALARM 2: Messenger Plus! FAQ said “Unfortunately, some of the anti-adware/spyware products distributed nowadays don’t care to make a difference between a clean adware solution and a nasty spyware. As a result, users who want to give their support by installing the sponsor sometimes get scared by alarming warning coming from their anti-adware/spyware product. In addition to displaying false information to their users, these products can also, in some occasions, damage the installation package of the sponsor, preventing further removal. This is why warning related to Messenger Plus! should be ignored and the proper procedure be followed (see below). In case of doubt, remember that Messenger Plus! has been on the market since 2001, longer than many of the detection software you see nowadays. Millions of people are using it daily, proving without the shadow of a doubt that the program is reliable and can be trusted.”
Symantec and other reputable security tools who are in the market for many years or before 2001 or before Messenger Plus! comes out. These reputable security tools will not flag Winfixer and other risks if it’s not bad. Messenger Plus! sponsor program is a gate by Winfixer and other ads to fool users in downloading and installing a rogue antispyware product so why install Messenger Plus! sponsor program that will put you at risk?
ALARM 3: Messenger Plus! comes is different flavors – a sponsored and a non-sponsored program. If you’ll get the sponsored program… you will get adware. Some might say, oh! I don’t mind using Adware program since the application is cool and it has what I want and need. Be careful guys.. adware that comes from Messenger Plus! sponsor program will likely give you WinFixer, LOP, C2Media. Your hosts file could be over-ridden or modified without your knowledge or consent (?) by their own host file. See the EULA of MP! to have an idea what you are dealing with.
ALARM 4: FOURTEEN (14) MILLION ACTIVE USERS!!!! That’s not a WOW from me but a sad numbers. Sandi is right, we are not sure how many of those active users are using the sponsor program.
If you will read all the articles made by Sandi, you’ll see more alarming stuff in installing MP! with sponsor program!
Let’s hope the active users of Messenger Plus! sponsor program will not grow. There are other ways to get support from users e.g. donation, or by charging users who want to use the program IMHO so to tell the users to install MP! with sponsor program as way to support MP! is unacceptable. The software author should give the users the option on how to support his program. Remove the sponsor program! Give that as your christmas gift and a contribution to the community by giving them a 100% adware-free MP! I’m sure there will be donation if your program is worth for a $.
My security wish list this Christmas – I hope Microsoft will disallow such program in extending itself to their Windows Live Messenger or MSN or Windows Messenger because there is a CLEAR SECURITY RISK to users! OK.. users opted for it. Still, if it’s blocked to be added in Microsoft’s Live Messenger Program… there will no 3rd party security risk.
Hey Sandi.. As I’ve said “I salute your work!” [:)]