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Friday, December 12, 2008

Federal Trade Commission Target Scareware Dealers

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has gone to the courts in an attempt to stop two companies, Innovative Marketing, Inc. and ByteHosting Internet Services, LLC. from distributing software that they've dubbed "scareware". The companies operate webpages that run a fake "scan" proportedly looking for security problems. The scan returns many ficticious results and prompt the users to pay for removal software that affectively does nothing. Typically the scans report evidence of viruses, spyware and/or illegal pornography. "However," said the FTC, "the scans were entirely false." Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief technology officer at security firm Finjan says "People are paying 40-60 dollars for bogus software which does nothing,"

A US District court has granted an injunction which stops the companies from advertising their software, and has also asked firms hosting the websites to block customers from accessing them. It has also frozen the assets of the companies so the cash can be reclaimed and refunds given to those caught in the scam.

BBC story here.