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ExtortionWare : FTC Files First Spyware Case

by SpywareGuide Staff

In a move that tickles us pink The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday filed the first case in the US against software companies accused of infecting computers with "spyware" and then trying to sell people a solution to fix the problem they created. The commission is accusing the companies of infecting computers with unsolicited software then using a gross amount of pop-up ads to hammer users into trying to get them to pay $30 to fix the problem.

The FTC requested a temporary restraining order from the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire against Seismic Entertainment Productions Inc., Smartbot.Net, Inc., and Sanford Wallace- a former and supposedly "reformed" spammer.

The FTC alleges the companies covertly installed the software on computers, causing systems to be deluged by pop-up advertisements, and then sending messages saying they needed to buy "Spy Wiper" or "Spy Deleter" for $30. The FTC also alleges the defendants have unfairly: changed consumers' Web browsers, installed advertising and other software programs, and compelled purchase of anti-spyware software.

The FTC is asking the court to temporarily:

- Restrain defendants from publishing, disseminating or distributing software code, script or any other content on or through the Internet, Web and other places.

- Require defendants to remove the software script that exploits Web browser vulnerabilities from any Web site, Web page, and other places.

- Require defendants to produce documents relating to their Internet marketing.

Our hats are off to the FTC. Hopefully this will serve as a stern warning to all the tricksters and rogue marketers in the anti-spyware space.

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