Reiterating that "customer protection is our top priority," Microsoft announced this week a new Windows system policy that will remove software with "coercive messaging."
The crackdown will start next month and will target cleaner or optimizer applications that use scare tactics to force Windows users, for example, into upgrading. As always the case, customers were made to pay for the upgrade, which Microsoft said is not an absolute necessity.
"Starting March 1, 2018, Windows Defender Antivirus and other Microsoft security products will classify programs that display coercive messages as unwanted software, which will be detected and removed," the company wrote in an official blog post.
In anticipation that the changes on its security protocol could impact on legitimate software developers, Microsoft called on them to check on the Windows Defender Security Intelligence portal for the appropriate adjustments that need to be implemented.
How To Detect Unwanted Behaviors
At the same time, Microsoft said Windows users need to be fully aware how these so-called scare-mongering applications, which normally masquerade as free software downloads, operate. They are system utilities that scan PC systems at no cost but offer the option of jumping to the paid software version for deeper cleaning or optimizing effect.
In doing so, the apps remain legit, but when they use exaggerated error reporting and suggest no other recourse is available but to update, then users have valid reasons to be alarmed, the company advised.
Also part of the hard-sell tactics is to provide a short deadline for customers to quickly act on the situation. The course of actions provided range from signing up to newsletter service, taking a survey, or just plain payment of fees to fix the errors.
Microsoft warned Windows users to keep watch on these coercive messaging or other unwanted (and) malicious behaviors of third-party applications and have them reported for immediate action.
The new security policy will likewise be extended to other platforms where Microsoft products and services, such as the Office Suite, are in use. On this, the Windows maker will collaborate with Bitdefender, Lookout, and Ziften for smooth integration Macs and other devices running on iOS, Android, and Linux.
Killing Off Crapware
The latest move by Microsoft is seen to finally weed out the annoying elements from the company's ecosystem. Makers of crapware have long been in operation and regularly prey on unsuspecting users of Microsoft products to make money.
They deploy free programs in the form of system utilities to convince users to download and install, but instead of providing solutions, they even caused issues by tinkering with system registry entries and files.