Cloning Ben Edelman
I first had the pleasure of meeting Ben Edelman in Washington DC at the 2004 FTC Spyware Workshop. I was immediately impressed with his knowledge and passion. Ben has a long history of shining a light on unscrupulous activities of adware(spyware) companies. He has followed the money back to many legitimate companies and helped pull the plug on some dangerous trends in software distribution.
Ben Edelman and PC Pitstops Dave Methvin
Feb 2006 ASC Conference
Recently, Ben has come under personal attack after demonstrating how Adware company Zango is thumbing their noses at the FTC and a previous settlement where Zango had their hand slapped. Last month he showed us how eTrust side steps its own responsibility to monitor vendors it has certified.
What I don’t understand is where are the other Ben Edelman’s of the world? Why aren’t the big security companies exposing the sources of so many unwanted installations? Why doesn’t the FTC use their fines to set up a shop to monitor future sources of adware infiltration?
While writing this story, I did see that the European Union and some corporate sponsors have set aside over 5 million Euro towards malware research. A three year study starting in January will be called “WOMBAT”( Worldwide Observatory of Malicious Behavior and Attack Tools). The focus of this group will be consolidate the research of global attacks in hopes of predicting future attacks and/or cyberterrorism.
I doubt this group will monitor the attacks of seemingly legitimate adware companies. These companies collect vast sums of venture capital and use it to encourage affiliates to sneak their software on our machines. For now, we may have to depend on a single Ben Edelman to be our watch dog.