Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lavasoft Responds to Toolbar Inquiry

Posted by CalamityJane, a respected member of the security community and Microsoft MVP.


LS CalamityJane
post Yesterday, 06:37 PM
Post #2


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This topic was held temporarily offline until the Office in Sweden was open today so that it could be confirmed or not as I had no information on this and the blog post you linked does not give any indication of whether this is rumor or not. So, having confirmed, can now bring this topic back online so our home office can respond.

Michael Helander asked me to post this for you, Winchester

From:
Michael Helander
Vice President Marketing

QUOTE
Hello all –

It seems as though I only jump into the forums these days when there is some hot topic that needs a quick reply before it spirals out of control with rumors and mis-information. I’ll have to change that! I rather love a good discussion.

On the topic of toolbars:

Toolbars have become such a sensitive issue in our business, particularly because several companies have chosen to distribute them without any restrictions, or without challenging the existing system to result in social change. But for us here at Lavasoft, toolbar issues are no worse than most of the other issues that we deal with – so we don’t consider it a forbidden topic at all.

The fact that we have talked with Ask regarding toolbars is nothing that we feel the need to hide. One would be hard-pressed to find a company these days that has not been approached by Ask (or Yahoo, Google, or a plethora of other search engines) to distribute their toolbar. So, even those that are saying “shame on you” to anyone that is distributing the toolbar have most likely been approached and talked to Ask as well.

Why are we different? We are actually engaged in extensive and in-depth discussions with Ask directly. Instead of just saying ‘no’ and then pointing a damning finger at everyone else who chooses to distribute a toolbar, we choose the uncommon path of trying to make a real difference in the industry. We’re involved in an analysis of their toolbar, based on Lavasoft’s detection criteria (which set the standard for this entire industry of anti-spyware detection, I might add), that could actually result in a clean toolbar. We are working with Ask the same way that we would work with any other company that approaches us with an application that could be considered questionable. We analyze the application. We have consistent and ongoing talks with them about what changes are necessary in order to have a clean application. They decide whether they can or cannot make those changes. If they can make the required changes, then we have done our job to create social change in our industry. And I assure you it is no easy task to meet the criteria from our research lab! If they cannot make the required changes, then we still feel very confident that we have given them all of the knowledge necessary to provide an application that Lavasoft believes is acceptable for consumer privacy and security.

Many people say that Ask has a bad reputation. So what? Does that mean that we should turn a blind eye to our core corporate ethics of creating change in our industry? Yes, we work with those that everyone else likes to call “the bad guys”. We think that is pretty cool. It creates an opportunity to really make a difference.

And another thing about toolbars…the cynics say that it is just about the money…making a quick buck (yes, search engine companies pay their toolbar partners – that’s business folks). But really, think about it. If Lavasoft were just out to make a quick buck, wouldn’t we just develop software and send it out to you, year after year? Instead, we spend exhaustive hours and energy actually trying to get “the bad guys” to create their applications without compromising computer users (yourself included). When you buy Ad-Aware, or even take the freeware version, you are a part of the process of creating real change in this industry. The option? There are plenty of other companies out there that are extremely good at marketing the newest bells and whistles on their products – and are busy pointing fingers at all of the bad things being done by everyone else. That’s not interesting for Lavasoft employees. We’re here for the real change. We’re in it for the long haul.

So to answer your original question, winchester73, “Is the AskToolbar coming?” It’s not out of the question. If we can find a way to create change in the toolbar arena, we will certainly find a way to get it into the hands and onto the computers of consumers who want a clean toolbar. Of course it would be prominently disclosed. Of course it would be opt-in only. Of course we take things like that into consideration.

So, for all the naysayers out there that that say Lavasoft is only about the money…they’re way off base. They just have no idea of how much effort we put in to make real industry change…on their behalf. So for that, we forgive them.

For those of you who are open enough to understand what it takes to fight malware AND create social change at the same time, we thank you, and hope you are in it with us for the long haul.

Cheers –

Michael



On a highly personal note, it is important to me to include here that I have the utmost respect for CalamityJane. She has helped countless thousands of people remove malware from their computer and continues in that tireless effort day after day. Beyond what she does as a paid consultant for Lavasoft, Janie continues volunteering many hours of her personal time helping at many other sites.

That said, with regard to Lavasoft, it appears that times have changed at Lavasoft and their employees actually get the weekend off now. Yes, it took a while for the damage-control article to be written, but rest assured, thorough research was conducted:

magnify this user Magnify User (Security Garden) 22nd January 2008 08:26:44 AM




VISITOR ANALYSIS
Referring Link No referring link
Host Name aker.lavasoft.com
IP Address 213.115.201.4 [Label IP Address]
Country Sweden
Region -
City -
ISP Bb-cust-lavasoft
Returning Visits 0
Visit Length Multiple visits spread over more than one day
VISITOR SYSTEM SPECS
Browser Firefox 2.0
Operating System WinXP
Resolution 1024x768
Javascript Enabled

Navigation Path

Date Time WebPage
21st January 200802:06:01 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html#links
21st January 200802:10:07 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
21st January 200802:11:07 AMwww.dslreports.com/forum/r19830703-AdAware-AskToolbar-
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
21st January 200802:12:16 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/secunia-security-advisory-ask-toolbar.html
21st January 200802:29:11 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/
21st January 200802:29:29 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
21st January 200802:30:06 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
21st January 200803:10:08 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
21st January 200803:18:56 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
21st January 200803:46:47 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
21st January 200803:47:35 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
21st January 200803:51:40 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
21st January 200803:52:28 AMwww.dslreports.com/forum/r19830703-AdAware-AskToolbar-
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
21st January 200803:52:31 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
21st January 200805:11:01 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html#links
21st January 200805:13:02 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html#links
21st January 200805:13:42 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
21st January 200807:20:43 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html#links
21st January 200807:20:55 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
21st January 200808:08:28 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html#links
21st January 200808:08:38 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
21st January 200810:12:55 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html#links
21st January 200810:12:55 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
21st January 200810:20:09 AMblog.assarbad.net/
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
22nd January 200803:18:38 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/secunia-security-advisory-ask-toolbar.html
22nd January 200803:26:50 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
22nd January 200803:27:09 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200803:34:34 AMblog.assarbad.net/
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200803:45:41 AMblog.assarbad.net/20080118/from-corrine-lavasoft-turning-to-the-dark-side/
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200807:22:24 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
22nd January 200808:22:07 AMblog.assarbad.net/
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200809:04:36 AMwww.dslreports.com/forum/r19830703-AdAware-AskToolbar-
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200809:04:48 AMwww.dslreports.com/forum/r19830703-AdAware-AskToolbar-
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-responds-to-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200809:05:38 AMwww.dslreports.com/forum/r19830703-AdAware-AskToolbar-
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200809:06:03 AMwww.dslreports.com/forum/r19830703-AdAware-AskToolbar-
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200809:06:15 AMwww.dslreports.com/forum/r19830703-AdAware-AskToolbar-
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200809:06:36 AMwww.dslreports.com/forum/r19830703-AdAware-AskToolbar-
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200809:06:38 AMwww.dslreports.com/forum/r19830703-AdAware-AskToolbar-
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200809:07:08 AMwww.dslreports.com/forum/r19830703-AdAware-AskToolbar-
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-responds-to-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200809:07:48 AMwww.dslreports.com/forum/r19830703-AdAware-AskToolbar-
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-responds-to-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200809:08:00 AMwww.dslreports.com/forum/r19830703-AdAware-AskToolbar-
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-responds-to-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200809:09:10 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-responds-to-toolbar-inquiry.html
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200809:09:20 AMwww.dslreports.com/forum/r19830703-AdAware-AskToolbar-
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-responds-to-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200809:11:34 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html
22nd January 200809:30:08 AMwww.dslreports.com/forum/r19830703-AdAware-AskToolbar-
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-responds-to-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200810:36:15 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/
22nd January 200810:36:36 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-responds-to-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200810:37:12 AMNo referring link
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-responds-to-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200810:39:30 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-responds-to-toolbar-inquiry.html
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200811:20:57 AMblog.assarbad.net/
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200811:21:55 AMblog.assarbad.net/
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
22nd January 200811:22:04 AMsecuritygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-removes-ask-toolbar-inquiry.html
securitygarden.blogspot.com/2008/01/lavasoft-turning-to-dark-side.html

It is quite amazing that this rather unknown blog has garnered so much attention from Lavasoft.

Related Posts:

(Edit Note: Added addtional visits after 8:07 AM today from "aker.lavasoft.com" that occurred after the original posting. I gather folks were checking to see if I included a follow-up after being provided notice of the returned forum posting and response.)



Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...

1 comment:

winchester73 said...

I certainly respect Janie as well, and I'm sure she knows that.

However, I'm not sure I should be categorized as one of the "pointing a damning finger at everyone else who chooses to distribute a toolbar" people.

I posted a polite inquiry to urizen, a post that was removed without the courtesy of an explanation. It's your forum, and your right to run it any way that you like.