Symantec Accused of Selling Scareware of No Value
January 13, 2012 2:42 PM
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Nothing but Scareware?
Man files suit in California court against Symantec
Anyone that has been around computers much has seen machines that were infected with scareware. Scareware is the name given to applications that claim to look at your system and find errors that could lead to damage or compromise of your machine. The idea behind this sort of app is to get the user to cough up money to fix problems that aren't there.
A man named James Gross from Washington State has filed suit against Symantec in a court in the Northern District of California. Gross hopes that the suit will turn into a class action covering anyone that has purchased Symantec software. Gross alleges that the firms Registry Mechanic software installed on his computer told him that it had found multiple errors with his machined and after paying the $29.95 for the software, he alleges it did nothing.
Gross goes so far as to claim in court documents that the Symantec software does nothing and has no value. The man claims to have hired a computer forensics firm to look in this computer and they say nothing of serious issue was found on the machine despite Registry Mechanic's claims that the machine had series errors. The Forensics firm then claimed that the software found errors on the computers tested even when there were no errors found on the machines when they looked.
The complaint reads in part, "The Scareware does not conduct any actual diagnostic testing on the computer. Instead, Symantec intentionally designed its Scareware to invariably report, in an extremely ominous manner, that harmful errors, privacy risks, and other computer problems exist on the user’s PC, regardless of the real condition of the consumer’s computer. Furthermore, the scareware does not, and cannot, provide the benefits promised by Symantec. Accordingly, consumers duped into purchasing software that does not function as advertised, and in fact, has very little (if any) utility."
Symantec says that it believes the suit has no merit and will vigorously defend the case. The case may be hard fro Gross to win in court since Symantec will roll out its big guns for sure. Symantec did find itself in some hot water in the past reports Forbes for making claims that came off like threats. In 2010, it used a message on computers of machines that had expired subscriptions that read, "Any second now a virus might infect your computer, malicious malware might be installed, or your identity may be stolen. Maybe things will be OK for a while longer. Then again, maybe cybercriminals are about to clean out your bank account. The choice is yours: Protect yourself now, or beg for mercy.”
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RE: All registry repair tools are bunk
1/26/2012 9:52:30 AM
Orphan registry entries will not slow a machine down. Unless an application access them then they consume no more resources than memory. Unnecessary data will not slow the access of proper data.
If the registry gets obscenely bloated then the OS would crash on boot. (current NTLDR in the NT based OSs allows much larger system hives but back in the day it was tiny.. <11meg If I recall). Because of this it can't get to the point where it drags the system due to low memory.
As for processing, I/O on the registry is one of the fastest things that Windows does. It's stored in a linked cell structure in memory and is incredibly fast. (grab procmon from sysinternals, filter to registry, and let it fly for say 5 seconds and you'll see).
I think what really haunted those early systems was every application developer and their mother putting stuff into the startup folder or startup registry keys. In this manner it could slow a system down as there is just too much crap running.
As for the article: Registry cleaners are snake oil. If your registry needs fixing, do it yourself. If you don't know how to restore a registry on a *non booting* computer then leave it be.
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