Feeds

Scareware mongers cough up $8m to settle fraud charges

More than a million duped

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Federal authorities will collect $8 million from members of a scareware operation that duped more than a million people into installing bogus security software on their computers.

Marc D'Souza and his father, Maurice D'Souza, agreed to pay $8.2 million in “ill-gotten gains” generated by the scam, which pimped software titles such as Winfixer, Drive Cleaner, and Antivirus XP. The operation worked by plastering legitimate websites with ads that were manipulated to look like antivirus scans that inevitably found infections that could only be fixed with packages that ranged from $40 to $60 in price.

The US Federal Trade Commission – which in 2008 brought fraud charges against Innovative Marketing, ByteHosting Internet Services, and several individuals – alleged the operation went to great lengths to trick some of the world's more popular websites into carrying the deceptive ads. When one site rejected the ads, the defendants formed sham advertising agencies that placed the malicious ads themselves.

The FTC has come under criticism in the past for delivering mild wrist slaps to internet-based fraudsters who are blatantly breaking the law. The case against Innovative Marketing and ByteHost shows the agency's better side. Government prosecutors doggedly pursued the defendants, some based overseas, after they failed to appear at court hearings and flouted a judge's order that they shut down their operation.

In 2009, defendant James Reno agreed to pay a reduced penalty of $116,000 and promised to get out of the scareware business for good. The FTC has already obtained default judgements against three other defendants. The case continues against the sole remaining defendant in the case, Kristy Ross.

More from the FTC is here. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.