Feeds

FTC demands bigger spyware penalties

Raising the fine line

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

US consumer watchdog the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is calling for a bigger stick with which to punish spyware purveyors.

As things stand the FTC is only able to collect profits illegally gained by infecting victims' PCs with malware along with obtaining financial redress for consumers. A brace of bills that would give the agency powers to impose fines are both stalled in congress.

The House passed the Spy Act and the I-Spy Act in May and June, respectively. The senate is yet to consider the proposals.

The FTC already has the ability to fine spammers. Giving it the same ability in spyware cases would act as an "enormous deterrent", FTC commissioner Jon Leibowitz told a spyware summit held in Washington DC.

He said quantifying how much money consumers had lost as a result of pop-up infections and the like was tricky, arguing that attempts to obtain consumer redress were failing.

"Right now, companies know that the worst they can do is lose their profits," Leibowitz said, IDG reports. "They're not going to get fined on top of that."

Leibowitz is on the record dissenting on agency settlements with firms held liable for distributing adware. The FTC fined DirectRevenue $1.5m, based on its profits from distributing adware, in February. Leibowitz disagreed with the decision arguing that after pulling in $20m in venture capital funding the founders of DirectRevenue would still be "lining their pockets from a business model based on deceit".

In related news, the FTC warned on Monday of a forged email message that tries to scare users into visiting a site hosting malware. The bogus messages falsely warn recipients that they have become the subject of a fictional FTC probe. For good measure, the emails also contained an infected attachment. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.