Spyware has always been the poor relation of viruses when it comes to countering the IT security problem.
Sure, there are a number of anti-spyware applications out there (fx: waves in the general direction of the software industry), but not that many users have real anti-spyware software installed on their machines.
It's therefore with some pleasure that I can report that several IT security vendors - McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro, ICSA Labs and Thomson Cyber Security Labs - have pooled their resources and plan to standardise on a method of reporting spyware, and how their software counters the problem.
The move is a welcome one for the industry, as it will lay down the groundwork for set of best practices and standards for testing and reviewing anti-spyware applications.
Plans call for the alliance, to be known as Spywaretesting.org, to use definitions developed by the Anti-Spyware Coalition (ASC).
The ASC, which was originally created by the Center for Democracy in Technology - and includes AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo among its charter members - has defined spyware as "a term for tracking software deployed without adequate notice, consent or control for the user."
The development of standards for anti-spyware and how such software is evaluated can only be good for the IT security industry, so I think that congratulations are due to those involved with creating Spywaretesting.org...