Feeds

Check Point kills scareware-style pop-up campaign

Waves white flag

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Check Point has backed down in a row over a controversial scareware-style pop-up message warning to users of its ZoneAlarm personal firewall product, admitting that it got it wrong, and withdrawing the marketing campaign.

The row began after ZoneAlarm users were hit by a warning that their PCs 'may be in danger' from a newly found variant of the infamous ZeuS banking Trojan in a bid to encourage them to upgrade to a paid-for version of the product, with built-in anti-virus defences. In addition, the buy-an-upgrade page cheekily disparaged the ability of competitors (including AVG, Avira and Norton) to handle the threat. The pop-up warning was displayed whether or not the machine was infected with anything - the free version of ZoneAlarm is not even outfitted with an anti-virus scanner.

Critics were quick to slam Check Point, which markets ZoneAlarm, for adopting tactics little different from those of scareware scammers. Meanwhile users howled protests at the pushy marketing tactics on ZoneAlarm forums.

Initially Check Point defended its marketing tactics as educating users about a threat by "proactively alerting users". The statement, issued on Monday, failed to placate criticism prompting Check Point into a u-turn. The security software firm has now promised to stop pushing the pop-up messages after conceding, via an update to the official ZoneAlarm Twitter profile, that it might be taken as a warning that a machine was infected.

After listening to consumer feedback, we realised that it was misinterpreted and have turned the popup message off.

The climb-down cuts a sharp contrast to an earlier unapologetic statement from the security software firm.

"It was never our intent to lead customers to believe they have a virus on their computer," said an initial statement. "This was purely an informative message about a legitimate and serious virus that also included information about the differences in protection of various products, and how to get protection against it." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
US government fines Intel's Wind River over crypto exports
New emphasis on encryption as a weapon?
To Russia With Love: Snowden's pole-dancer girlfriend is living with him in Moscow
While the NSA is tapping your PC, he's tapping ... nevermind
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Slap for SnapChat web app in SNAP mishap: '200,000' snaps sapped
This is what happens if you hand your username and password to a 3rd-party
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.