US Court Freezes Assets of Alleged ‘Scareware’ Purveyors

A federal court has frozen the assets of several businesses accused of conspiring to trick more than one million consumers into purchasing and installing “scareware,” which uses fake security alerts to frighten consumers into paying for bogus computer security software.According to the complaint by the Federal Trade Commission, two companies — Innovative Marketing, Inc. and ByteHosting Internet Services, LLC — embedded extra computer code in online ads, which they placed on Web sites on behalf of legitimate companies. The code would then redirect viewers to other sites that warned of security and privacy threats on the visitor’s computer.
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2008/12/court_freezes_assets_of_allege.htmlFTC Shuts Down Security ‘Scareware’ Scammers
A U.S. district court has issued a temporary halt to a massive “scareware” scheme in which makers of bogus security software and services falsely claimed that their scans had detected viruses, spyware, and illegal pornography on consumers’ computers.According to the Federal Trade Commission, the scheme has tricked more than 1 million consumers into buying computer security products with names such as WinFixer, WinAntivirus, DriveCleaner, ErrorSafe, and XP Antivirus. The court also froze the assets of those responsible for the scheme to preserve the possibility of giving back some money to the scam’s victims.
http://www.darkreading.com/security/cybercrime/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=212400520US Court Halts Bogus Computer Scans [news release]
At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a U.S. district court has issued a temporary halt to a massive “scareware” scheme, which falsely claimed that scans had detected viruses, spyware, and illegal pornography on consumers’ computers. According to the FTC, the scheme has tricked more than one million consumers into buying computer security products such as WinFixer, WinAntivirus, DriveCleaner, ErrorSafe, and XP Antivirus. The court also froze the assets of those responsible for the scheme, to preserve the possibility of providing consumers with monetary redress.According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants used an elaborate ruse that duped Internet advertising networks and popular Web sites into carrying their advertisements. The defendants falsely claimed that they were placing Internet advertisements on behalf of legitimate companies and organizations. But due to hidden programming code that the defendants inserted into the advertisements, consumers who visited Web sites where these ads were placed did not receive them. Instead, consumers received exploitive advertisements that took them to one of the defendants’ Web sites. These sites would then claim to scan the consumers’ computers for security and privacy issues. The “scans” would find a host of purported problems with the consumers’ computers and urge them to buy the defendants’ computer security products for $39.95 or more. However, the scans were entirely false.
http://ftc.gov/opa/2008/12/winsoftware.shtm

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