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‘Messenger Plus’ Bundled With ‘Lop Adware’

Microsoft had recently bestowed on Cyril Paciullo the status of the 'Most Valuable Professional' (MVP) for developing the 'Messenger Plus' application. But when it received a rush of negative feedback, Microsoft decided to withdraw the title.

'Messenger Plus' makes some useful additional functions to Microsoft's 'instant messaging' program such as the ability to pile several chat windows and enter them by the tab key. The software is available free of cost.

MVPs are a group of select few that Microsoft chooses for their valuable work fostering Microsoft's software. The professionals could be developers, forum moderators, or experts in a specific area. Microsoft recognizes their dedication and support by inviting the MVPs to special events where the company gives them early access to software. Microsoft has rewarded this title to about 2,600 developers all over the world.

The negative response emerged probably because experts feel that Paciullo's software used to distribute 'Lop', which they recognize as a sticky adware problem. Other MVPs commented that the inclusion of Paciullo's software in the list ridicules the MVP program.

Microsoft acknowledged the granting of MVP status to Paciullo but according to a spokesperson on October 9, 2006, the company revoked the award immediately when the link between his application and spyware became apparent.

When Paciullo posted a note on his 'Messenger Plus' website about the award of MVP status, several security professionals opposed the move. Chris Boyd, the director of malware research at FaceTime Communications said that Microsoft was rewarding someone who had a most maligned name in PC hacking.

As per Sunbelt Software, 'Lop' is a kind of PC 'hijacker' that makes alteration to a user's Web browser apart from popping up ads. The adware also plants icons on the desktop and dupes users into installing a fake virus scan that leads to more malware.
Paciullo responded to the critics' opinions by saying that the pop-up ads and links that Lop displays on screen are possible to delete. It means that this software was hardly a maligned name in PC hijacking. Paciullo stated his defense statement in e-mail to TechWeb.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

» SPAMfighter News - 17-10-2006

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