Windows Defender and other Microsoft security products will be updated to block and remove software that tries to convince Windows 10 users to purchase solutions supposed to help optimize the system.

Starting March 1, 2018, the company will no longer allow applications like system optimization tools, malware cleaners, or registry cleaners which offer free scanning capabilities but then ask for a paid license in order to complete the cleaning process.

The software giant flags these apps as “unwanted behaviors [using] coercive messaging,” and as a result, evaluation criteria has been updated to detect and remove such programs.

Barak Shein, Windows Defender Security Research, says this is an update whose role is to “keep our customers from being deceived by programs that display misleading, exaggerated, or threatening messages about a system’s health.”

Software behavior to be blocked

The March deadline concerns software that reports errors in an exaggerated or alarming manner and requires users to pay for a license in order to fix the found problems or by pushing other downloads or directing users to online surveys. Applications which ask users to sign up for a newsletter in order to fix errors will also be blocked, the company says.

Programs that “suggest no other actions will correct the reported errors or issues” will be banned as well, and so will be the applications that “requires the user to act within a limited period of time to get the purported issue resolved.”

Microsoft says that developers who want to make sure their software complies with all the guidelines can refer to the Windows Defender Security Intelligence portal where they can submit a file for malware analysis. This way, Microsoft helps determine whether their submissions can be classified as threats, unwanted software, or normal files.

The new protection system will be implemented automatically in Windows 10 with updates for Windows Defender and the other security products developed by Microsoft.

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