Feeds

Check Point kills scareware-style pop-up campaign

Waves white flag

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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." ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Canadian taxman says hundreds pierced by Heartbleed SSL skewer
900 social insurance numbers nicked, says revenue watchman
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Burnt out on patches this month? Oracle's got 104 MORE fixes for you
Mass patch for issues across its software catalog
Reddit users discover iOS malware threat
'Unflod Baby Panda' looks to snatch Apple IDs
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.