There’s a disturbing trend in the world of malware detection: falsely labeling software as malware.
For example, there’s an entire category of software that’s being mislabeled as malware by an increasing number of anti-malware providers: torrent software.
Torrent software is widely used by people trying to get access to cultural material that is otherwise locked away by the gatekeepers of big media (by way of prohibitive pricing, overlapping services, poor or unavailable service, geo-locking, release windows, and other big media fuckery).
Torrent software is used all over the world to legally share media in an extremely efficient, and Internet-friendly way.
But big media doesn’t care about any of that, because torrent software is also used for piracy.
Currently, there are efforts underway by media organizations to discredit and cripple torrent software in any way possible. Apparently they are now leaning on anti-malware software and service providers.
Why would an otherwise reputable anti-malware organization erroneously flag software as malicious? There are a number of possibilities:
- They are being fed false information
- Industry/corporate threats
- Financial incentives
Why is this a problem?
- It’s an extremely annoying inconvenience for users. Unable to install the falsely-labeled software, or exclude it from malware scans, some users will resort to uninstalling their anti-malware software.
- It’s increasingly difficult for users to distinguish between actual threats and bullshit.
- If an actually malicious version of one of these programs comes along, there’s no way to distinguish it from other versions that are erroneously flagged as malicious.
- A general loss of trust in anti-malware providers and their services.
Big media will keep playing this idiotic game of whac-a-mole in any way their lawyers dream up. Media piracy continues, despite these efforts, and the only people affected are innocent users.
Advice to anti-malware purveryors: stop doing this. It’s short-sighted, dangerous, and stupid.