Anyone who owns cats knows the joy of waking up in the morning, stumbling towards the kitchen, and stepping barefooted in a cold, squishy pile of cat barf. As I read one of this morning’s news items in Good Morning Silicon Valley, I shuddered in exactly the same way that I do when feeling half-digested kibble ooze between my toes.

The GMSV posting in question discussed the fact that, on the heels of rumors that Microsoft is interested in buying malware company Claria, this week’s update of Microsoft’s anti-spyware utility downgrades the risk posed by Claria’s malware.

According to a posting by Eric Howes on Broadband Reports:

Several sources have now confirmed that Microsoft downgraded its detections of Claria’s adware products in the latest update (#5731) to Microsoft AntiSpyware released today. Where Microsoft AntiSpyware used to detect Claria’s products and present users with a “Recommended Action” of “Quarantine,” following today’s update Microsoft AntiSpyware now presents users with a “Recommended Action” of “Ignore” (see attached screenshot). Users can still change the action to “Quarantine” or “Remove.”

Click for larger image.

(Screenshot credit: Eric Howes @ Spywarewarrior)

This isn’t the first time an anti-spyware utility has downgraded the threat posed by Claria’s crap. But are the downgrades a sign that Claria is improving its practices? Hardly.

As I’ve noted before, Claria has managed to bully, threaten, or cajole, several anti-virus and anti-spyware companies into changing its default settings for dealing with a Claria-ware infestation.

My recommendation? Do as GMSV’s headline suggests: “Antispyware untrustworthy? Recommended Action: Ignore.” Always read your anti-spyware reports carefully and override any softpedaling it offers for known threats.