From March 2005 to December 2005, Symantec labeled Spybot-S&D as incompatible to Norton Ghost, and endangering backups, with no reason given to us in 19 months now. Since October 2005, Norton Internet Security has told users that Spybot-S&D would be incompatible and they had to remove Spybot-S&D.
Eleven months later, Symantec has given us just one explanation that was mostly invented and not fitting. Even though Symantec again promised changes, they have now released Norton Internet Security 2007 which again urges the user to uninstall Spybot-S&D.
We would have loved to work with them to remove any incompatibility, but although they were eager to tell their customers about these so-called 'incompatibilities', even threats of legal action could not persuade Symantec to give us any details. Well, actually they promised they would send us details, but those promises haven't been fullfilled for nearly a year. Is Symantecs Quality Assurance department so bad that they can't either find the old reports or re-test?
Both of us are members of the ASC, the Anti Spyware Coalition, a group of anti-spyware companies working together - in theory. The ASC has discussed Best Practices for half a year now. Sadly, this seems to only affect practices against malware creators, while coalition members are allowed to fight each other as much as they want.
If we created spyware instead of anti-spyware, we probably would laugh various body parts at seeing how one anti-spyware application removes the other.
Arbitration by the ASC has only resulted in broken promises by Symantec.
We will therefore bring a motion in front of the ASC to expel Symantec for damaging the ASC through its practices of illegal improper competition and libel, resulting even in malware creators being able to spread their malware better. Should this motion be rejected by a majority of ASC members, we most likely leave this coalition as it would then appear that ASC is favoring libel as a proper way of competition.
If you think that anti-spyware companies should fight spyware creators instead of each other, please send an email to ASC members of your choice, found here, and/or to the ASC itself, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following that, thinking on how we could stop Symantec, we have two options: taking expensive legal steps, or behaving the same way as Symantec, accepting the removal of a competitor as a "legit" step.
Should we add detection for Norton Internet Security 2006 and 2007 as Malware or Possibly UnPopular Software (PUPS)?
* Yes, detect NIS completely!
* Yes, but detect only some harmless files to wake up people.
* No, please waste our donations to go through legal channels, instead of using them to fight malware.
* None of the above.
Please note that under ASCs definition, technology that is implemented in ways that impairs user control over material changes that affecs their system security, in other words software that urges changes that reduce system security like NIS does, falls under the term Spyware (and Other Potentially Unwanted Technologies), so adding NIS to the detection would not be revenge, but a strict following of the ASC definitions of that malware description.
Please feel free to vote in this topic, and/or leave your comments, especially if you vote for option 4 (None of the above).