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Considerations for Anti-Spyware Product Testing

This document outlines some of the considerations that should be taken into account when tests on anti-spyware products are conducted and reviewed. Tests conforming to the suggestions in this document are more likely to produce results that are scientifically valid, independently reproducible, and meaningful. It is the hope of the Anti-Spyware Coalition that this document will help testers design and perform reliable tests, and help reviewers and users interpret published test results.

Risk Model Description

The anti-spyware industry offers a robust selection of tools to consumers in the marketplace. As is to be expected in such an environment, the rating systems used to classify Spyware and other Potentially Unwanted Technologies vary between Anti-Spyware vendors. The members of ASC believe that reputable anti-spyware companies should be transparent about their decisions to help users understand how anti-spyware tools make decisions; software publishers understand what may concern users; and Anti-Spyware vendors share information about emerging threats. To facilitate that transparency, the ASC has developed the Risk Model Description - a list of a broad set of behaviors that its members can use to help users make decisions.

Definitions and Supporting Documents

These documents are working drafts that will serve as the cornerstone of the Anti-Spyware Coalition's ongoing efforts. They lay the foundation for the next phase of our work that includes risk modeling, identifying objective criteria to flag bad actors, and best practices to help software developers be recognized as good actors.  The documents will evolve as new problems are identified and our understanding deepens.

Best Practices Suggestions Document

Building upon the Definitions and Risk Model documents, the Best Practices document aims to expand past defining what behaviors and consent factors will currently make software potentially unwanted and to focus upon making the marketplace better. This document highlights the sorts of technological behaviors that limit the negative impact of potentially unwanted technologies.

Conflicts Resolution Document

Anti-Spyware software, as part of its operation, regularly interfaces with parts of a computer's operating system that control specific and low-level pieces of architechture.  Multiple pieces of software all attempting to operate on the same low-level controls can cause conflicts.  This document is intended to provide voluntary guidelines within the Anti-Spyware industry to assist in avoiding and resolving conflicts between suites of Anti-Spyware software and to better serve consumers. 

Tips Documents for Consumers and Corporations

The Anti-Spyware Coalition is interested in protecting consumers in many ways, including through education.  ASC has therefore developed a number of documents intended to help computer users identify steps they can take to improve the security of their computers and reduce the number of spyware infections they receive.  These documents are targeted at two user groups: home consumers and corporate network managers.  Each sheet has two formats: a single page for easy printing and a tri-fold brochure style sheet.  Finally, each document is available both in A4 or in Letter sizes.  All documents are pdf files.
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