Microsoft bans adware that use man-in-the-middle techniques

The company will enforce the new rule on March 31st, 2016.

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Mariella Moon
December 22, 2015 8:30 AM
Microsoft bans adware that use man-in-the-middle techniques

Starting next year, Microsoft will be a lot stricter when it comes to adware. In a post on the Technet blog, Redmond has announced that it will block advertising programs "that take choice and control away from users." The company's talking about adware that use "man-in-the-middle" (MiTM) techniques, in particular. Those include injecting ads and promotions by proxy, as well as changing DNS settings, without your express consent. They aren't safe, because they could be used to introduce malware into your system, or even to spy on encrypted data and communication.

In order to keep those types of adware off your computer, Microsoft has made it a policy that programs that show ads on the browser can only install, disable or execute programs through the browser itself. That means any ad software that doesn't notify you via your browser that it wants to download or install something will be blocked off and marked as malware. The company says it will enforce the new rule on March 31st, 2016 and asks developers to comply with the new policy.

If all these sound vaguely familiar, it's because Lenovo's controversial Superfish adware worked the same way. The PC-maker shipped out laptops with the pre-installed software, which not only injected sponsored links into users' search results, but also installed man-in-the-middle certificates that would allow third parties to see users' sensitive data, such as their bank details. After getting a lot of flak, Lenovo eventually agreed to stop preloading its computers with Superfish and provided a tool that can remove it completely from the units that already shipped out.

[Image credit: Nils Geylen/Flickr]

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