Here's one for the conspiracy theorists. Microsoft has downgraded detection of the Claria adware application by its anti-spyware software days after reports began circulating that Redmond might buy the online marketing firm. Under its former name Gator, Claria became synonymous with pop-up web advertisements and spyware and Microsoft's possible purchase of the marketing outfit has raised eyebrows in the IT security community.
Spyware researcher Eric Howes has posted screenshots on Broadband Reports showing the latest signature updates of Microsoft AntiSpyware give users a recommended action of ignoring Claria. Users are free to make up their own mind and either quarantine or remove the application. Last month every time Microsoft AntiSpyware found Claria it advised users to quarantine the application. Detection of Claria has not been removed from Microsoft's AntiSpyware definitions but there has been a significant change.
Microsoft declined to shed any light on why it has stopped classifying Claria's software as a threat to user's security that ought to be removed. "As your questions involve a rumoured acquisition, and as Microsoft does not comment on rumours, we will not be able to provide you with any further comment at this point," a spokeswoman for Microsoft UK said. ®