Make it tight, protect with might, and try not to hurt anyone

Michael Johnson Microsoft

  download slides (PDF)

Over the past year, in response to changing conditions in the wild, we at the Microsoft Malware Protection Center have re-evaluated our approach to potentially unwanted software. A changing threat landscape and modern customer expectations led us to re-evaluate our approach, and further reflect on the values, expectations and experience of our customers. Our goal, as always, is to help protect our users' security and improve their Windows experience, but we do not want to dictate what that experience looks like, nor be the Internet-police.

To implement this change in attitude we had to overhaul our criteria for detection. As a result of this work we've derived a smaller, more focused set of criteria that we use to assess potentially unwanted software. This work also provided a formal framework for assessing and implementing future policy changes. This paper talks about how we devised, implemented, communicated and evaluated these changes, while trying to limit any negative impact to our customers. We share lessons learned and reflect on how these changes may affect the greater anti-malware industry.

VB2013 takes place 2-4 October 2013 in Berlin, Germany.

The full programme for VB2013, including abstracts for each paper, can be viewed here.

Click here for more details about the conference.


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