MySecurityCenter versus freedom of speech – Oktober 2010

The English speaking part of the internet lack information about the shady sides of the antivirus company My Security Center. As the company is increasingly trying to spread outside of Denmark, we have decided to translate this blog into English. Comments and questions are welcome at our contact page.
– PrivacyDefence February 2013

The website Spywarefri.dk , which is run by voluntarily working IT-people, has for years helped with advice and guidance to keep computers safe from hackers and malware. On their forum they offer free expert help to clean computers that has already been infected. It is a trustworthy website that I both have received help from, and referred others to. Just like this website Spywarefri.dk is driven by idealism, not money.

The sequence of events in this case are as follows.

Spywarefri.dk reviews MySecurityCenter’s program
Another thing Spywarefri.dk does is to test and review security programs. Earlier this year they tested MySecurityCenter. This is a Danish owned company whose business practices can be called questionable at best, and the effectiveness of their security program was apparently nothing to brag about. The test and review ended with a well deserved low score.

MySecurityCenter threatens Spywarefri.dk to silence
MySecurityCenter threatens Spywarefri.dk with a lawsuit. Since Spywarefri.dk do not have any financial resources to defend themselves in a lawsuit they choose to remove their program review.

Anonymous tips media
The matter is discussed at the Spywarefri Forum (now censored) and an anonymous sympathizer is tipping several medias and public agencies about what is going on. Among the results are this article:
Dansk antivirus-firma lukker munden på kritikere (Danish anti-virus firm silence critics)
The comments to the article make it the week’s most discussed news on Comon.dk, and several of MySecurityCenter’s victims grips the opportunity to talk about their unfortunate experiences.

Anonymous ensure Spywarefri.dk’s freedom of speech
An anonymous person puts the entire program review from Spywarefri.dk back online, and states that one cannot “threaten themselves to good reviews”: www.mysecuritycenter.webs.com (now censored).
This causes another article on comon.dk:
“Vi truer os ikke til gode anmeldelser” (“We threatening us not to good reviews”)
The article links to the restored review of MySecurityCenter, so people can now again read what all the fuss is about. As can be clearly seen in the comments for the article, people find it extremely difficult to agree with MySecurityCenter that Spywarefri.dk had stepped over the line in their program review.

What can we learn from this?
This case is said to have been very damaging for MySecurityCenter. People now searching online for their products, may well get past some of the sites where the company and its methods are revealed. If the bad publicity could be transferred into cash, then the affair could hardly have been cheap for the company.
But it could easily have gone much worse, and Spywarefri.dk could easily have been completely silenced. But that did not happen thanks to the internets option of anonymity, a fine example of how the possibility of anonymity allows for true freedom of speech.

What we can learn is that action is required if we want change. Too many people complain that society is not well functioning, and too many do exactly nothing to improve it. Sometimes a single anonymous person is all it takes to make a difference. Therefore, get off your couch, into the fray, and take the initiative when the opportunity to bring about positive changes arise; within IT security as well as all other aspects of life.

Hopefully the instructions on this website can help you achieve the anonymity that can sometimes be a useful tool when you want to change the status quo for the better.

.

.

Update – 8th March 2011
As described the Spywarefri review of MySecurityCenter was removed, but it quickly came back online at a new address.
Recent development in the case is that this is also removed, and have come back online in a new location, etc. The battle rages back and forth. The comments to the above articles on comon.dk links to several websites where the Spywarefri program review can be read, and several copies can now be found online, see for example this page.

Note the “MSC Response Team”. That will give you the opportunity to take active part in the struggle for freedom of speech.

.

.