http://www.msnbc.com/news/728256.asp?0dm=C12NT&cp1=1 Trapware, that’s who. And the folks at WinWhatWhere don’t like it one bit. “If someone’s trying to make money trying to ruin my software, I have to take appropriate action,” said Richard Eaton, president of WinWhatWhere. Snooper programs have been around for years, but they’ve received heightened attention since Sept. 11. The software can be secretly installed on any machine — even from afar — and quietly watch every keystroke and mouse motion. Information gleaned by the spy software can then be remotely e-mailed to the real spy. While companies that make the software say they sell to law enforcement agencies and corporations who use it as a management tool, many suspect that much of their revenue comes from suspicious spouses. (Advantage: Spyware.) That’s where Wes Austin comes in. Last year he started selling Who’s Watching Me on Trapware.com. Call it counterintelligence: The program notices if spy software is on any machine, and alerts the user. He offers free trials, and nearly 45,000 users have downloaded Who’s Watching Me. He’s gotten plenty of e-mails (most from angry spouses) with thanks for the warning about the spy software that had been secretly installed. (Advantage: Anti-spyware) But Austin recently ran tests on the newest version of WinWhatWhere, released last month. And he noticed something funny: It broke his program. “I discovered that their process was opening up one of our files,” he said. And he provided evidence to MSNBC. Essentially, WinWhatWhere inserts some stray characters into a file that’s critical to Who’s Watching Me, disabling the anti-spy program. (Advantage: Spyware) Eaton didn’t confirm that exact methodology, but he did admit his software does what it has to in order to remain a secret. In fact, WinWhatWhere disables five other anti-spy programs, too. “Every time I find out about any of these programs, I will change our program to do whatever is necessary,” he said. “My reasoning behind it is I’m selling a security product that shouldn’t be detected.” Steven Haight, sales manager for SpectorSoft, was a bit more subtle in his description of the situation. “Yes, we can crash anti-spy software,” he said. New advanced security features in Spector Professional 3.0, released two months ago, do the trick. But it’s not intentional, he said. “We’re not out there buying anti-spy software and figuring out how to make them crash. It’s nothing personal against them,” Haight said. “It’s just the way the security of our software works. It won’t allow (anti-spy) software to run.” Foul, cries Austin, who thinks his software is a privacy advocate’s best friend. SpectorSoft says its software is for monitoring, not spying, and tells purchasers to always advise computer users they are being monitored. “All we’re doing now is telling people there is a monitoring program,” Austin says. “So why break Who’s Watching Me unless you are using the product illegally, trying to hide something. ... They know what people are using it for.” Haight said he wasn’t familiar enough with Who’s Watching Me to answer specific questions about the program. But Austin is hard at work familiarizing himself with his competitors’ code, and he is studying counter-countermeasure tactics. “We’re trying to decide how to handle it. We could get into code war where we change our stuff then they change theirs,” he said. He then offered a bit of a programming swipe at his competitors. “It would have been best if they had just taken engineering challenge and designed something that couldn’t be detected. but instead they just decided to break our program. That’s kind of lame.” (Pete Note: They go out of their way here to make it hard to copy-and-paste their stuff - that's about the best I could do with it. Couple of good screenshots in the article itself, I just put it here so that you wouldn't have to go there to read it).