'Best practices' for antispyware makers finalized

Anti-Spyware Coalition documents are designed to help companies identify malicious software and overcome conflicts with each other.

The nonprofit Anti-Spyware Coalition announced on Thursday that it had finalized a set of documents designed to provide software companies that develop spyware-fighting products with new information and tactics.

The two documents were originally released in draft form in January, and readers were given a one-month feedback period to contribute their comments and opinions. Now the ASC has announced that the documents are complete and available in their final form on the organization's Web site.

One of the documents, called "Best Practices: Guidelines to Consider in the Evaluation of Potentially Unwanted Technologies," details a recommended process by which companies can identify software as unwanted or malicious, based on the ASC's definition of spyware and risk models.

The second document, "Conflict Identification and Resolution Process," is geared toward the potential situation in which two competing antispyware companies stumble into an unwanted conflict between their respective software products.

The ASC was founded in 2005 and states its mission as a "(dedication) to building a consensus about definitions and best practices in the debate surrounding spyware and other potentially unwanted technologies." The process of completing the two newly finalized documents, according to the organization, took more than a year.

Also on Thursday, members of a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee focused on consumer protection issues vowed not to let the antispyware Spy Act die again. Two earlier versions of the bill, aimed at curbing spyware, overwhelmingly passed the House but were essentially ignored in the Senate.

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