Feeds

MS sues over anti-spyware scam

Spyware Cleaner misleading and ineffective, alleges Washington state

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

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. ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.