BadwareBusters.org launches to help computer users fight back against viruses, spyware | StopBadware

BadwareBusters.org launches to help computer users fight back against viruses, spyware

BadwareBusters.org launches to help computer users fight back against viruses, spyware

Site is a joint effort of Consumer Reports WebWatch and the StopBadware.org project at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society

Cambridge, Mass. and Yonkers, New York, March 17, 2009 — StopBadware.org and Consumer Reports WebWatch announced today the full launch of BadwareBusters.org, a new online community for people looking for help preventing and countering viruses, spyware, and other “badware” on their computers and websites.

Viruses and spyware accounted for $6.5 billion in damages to U.S. households in 2008, according to Consumer Reports. Until now, the Internet has lacked a central place where people with no prior knowledge about badware and its effects could go to ask questions and get assistance on the topic.

BadwareBusters.org aims to fill that gap by attracting a community consisting of everyone from computer novices to technology experts. The site’s clean interface makes it easy to browse, search, join, and start conversation topics and to rate other users’ contributions. Several subscription options make it simple to keep up with new content via e-mail or RSS news feeds. A reputation and rating system helps people identify the most useful topics and the most helpful users.

“Our aim with BadwareBusters.org is to offer a place where all consumers can learn from each other and teach each other about the pervasive and daunting issue of malicious software,” said Beau Brendler, director of Consumer Reports WebWatch. “The site will be a great complement to the educational content in the Consumer Reports Online Security Guide at http://consumerreports.org/security.”

Maxim Weinstein, manager of StopBadware.org at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, sees the site as not only a useful destination, but also a piece of a bigger puzzle. “BadwareBusters.org is part of StopBadware’s strategy to bring together the people, the organizations, and the data that allow us to fight back against the spread of badware,” Weinstein said. “The collective wisdom of the BadwareBusters community will inform not only individuals, but the entire technology industry.”

The site is free and open to the public at http://badwarebusters.org.

About StopBadware.org

StopBadware.org is a partnership among the academic community, consumer groups, technology industry leaders, and volunteers committed to protecting Internet users from threats to their privacy and security caused by bad software. StopBadware.org is led by Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. The initiative is supported by Google, PayPal, Mozilla, AOL, and Trend Micro. For more information, please visit http://www.stopbadware.org.

About Consumer Reports WebWatch

Consumer Reports WebWatch is the Internet integrity division of Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports Magazine, the Consumer Reports on Health and Money Adviser newsletters, and a variety of sites advocating consumer rights in the marketplace. We research and investigate Web sites on behalf of consumers, and we advocate for consumer focused Internet policy and governance. Consumer Reports WebWatch accepts no advertising. With the Center for Media and Democracy, WebWatch publishes Full Frontal Scrutiny, dedicated to exposing the activities of front groups in modern media and culture. WebWatch also serves as an unpaid special adviser to StopBadware.org.

Contact:

Erica George
StopBadware.org
(617) 384-9142
egeorge@cyber.law.harvard.edu

Beau Brendler
Consumer Reports WebWatch
(914) 378-2600
brenbe@consumer.org

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