Feeds

MS sues over anti-spyware scam

Spyware Cleaner misleading and ineffective, alleges Washington state

The essential guide to IT transformation

Washington State and Microsoft have joined forces to sue a firm that allegedly used scare tactics to sell ineffective anti-spyware software.

New York-based Secure Computer is accused of using spamming and pop-ups in an aggressive and allegedly deceitful marketing campaign designed to promote sales of a product called Spyware Cleaner. The firm is the first to be sued under Washington's newly enacted anti-spyware regulations. It also stands accused of violating federal anti-spam laws, as well as other state and federal consumer protection legislation.

In a lawsuit, Washington's Attorney General Rob McKenna alleges that Secure Computer's anti-spyware software falsely claims that PCs are infested in an attempt to coax users into paying $50 for its software. Spyware Cleaner only changes security settings on PCs rather than doing anything to clean machines of any infection. Washington State alleges the software actually "renders computers more susceptible to attacks" rather than protecting them.

Some of the emails punting Spyware Cleaner pose as messages from MSN Member Service with subject lines such as "Special Security Alert for MSN Members". Other messages allegedly arrive as pop-ups via Windows Messenger. These alleged tactics prompted Microsoft to file a federal lawsuit against Secure Computer alleging the firm used its trademarks without permission to suggest Microsoft recommended the ineffective software.

The lawsuit brings charges against Secure Computer company president Paul E Burke, and owner and manager of web domains for Secure Computer Gary T Preston. Both New York-based men reportedly made in excess of $100,000 flogging Spyware Cleaner through various affiliates. Other defendants - Zhijian Chen, of Portland, Oregon; Seth Traub, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Manoj Kumar, of Maharashtra, India - are alleged to be affiliate advertisers of Spyware Cleaner. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.