Computing giant Microsoft is reigning in new security measures for enterprises to nullify the threat of adware that often comes packaged in the installers of free software.
Fundamentally termed as a ‘potentially unwanted application’ or PUA, adware is seen as an annoyance. While not particularly deemed as a malware, adware is deemed a nuisance enough to potentially be a security risk at a later time. It almost always brings down the performance of a machine due to its intrusive abilities such as advertisements relayed in Flash. Furthermore, clicking on the ads put forth by adware inevitably leads to malware being installed on the targeted machine.
A blog post published by Microsoft explains the need for increased defenses against adware:
These applications can increase the risk of your network being infected with malware, cause malware infections to be harder to identify among the noise, and can waste helpdesk, IT, and user time cleaning up the applications.
The opt-in feature can instantly spot and stop these potentially unwanted applications instantly.
“Since the stakes are higher in an enterprise environment, the potential disaster that PUA brings can be a cause of concern,” Microsoft adds. “Hence, it is important to deliver trusted protection in this field.”
Enterprise users running System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) or even Forefront Endpoint Protection (FEP) can be rest assured that their installations and infrastructure are protected by the new features from the PUAs. It is important to note that the added security comes as an opt-in feature and the PUA will be blocked when the installer is running. PUAs are also blocked if the installer comes as a web-installer and downloads the package instead of already having the software as an offline package installer.
The PUA Blocker Is Only for Enterprise Users
Microsoft also points out that the PUA protection measure is only available for enterprise customers, with no mention of home or end-users. Advanced end users are likely to be annoyed with this particular caveat as one presumes Microsoft is holding back from offering it to end-users so as to not ‘overburden’ the casual user. With that said, an extra click or a few more seconds looking into a security pop-up seem a perfectly good hurdle if it can help keep away dangerous malware.