The Spam Diaries

News and musings about the fight against spam.
 by Edward Falk

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Antispyware Company Sued Under Spyware Law

You know those pop-up ads you get all the time that warn you that your computer may be infected with spyware and you should go to a web site to have your computer scanned? Well the Washington state attorney general has sued one of the companies responsible.

PC World and several other news sources report that Microsoft and the Washington State attorney general are suing antispyware vendor Secure Computer. They're accused of violating Washington's 2005 Computer Spyware Act, the state's Commercial Electronic Mail and Consumer Protection Acts, and the federal CAN-SPAM act.

In particular, Secure Computer is accused of using false and deceptive marketing, corrupting users' hard drives, and advertising via email spam, pop-up ads, and deceptive links. They offered free software scans which inevitably detected spyware, even where there was none, and then sold you the product for $49.95.

The software itself did a terrible job, flagging legitimate files and cookies as spyware, and missing actual spyware. In addition, it erased the user's hosts file.

Naturally, Secure Computer claims innocence, insisting that the software had been written by someone else, and that their affiliates were to blame for the bad marketing practices.

For more details, see PC World Antispyware Company Sued Under Spyware Law, I.T. Vibe article New York firm sued for selling phoney anti-spyware software, c|net article Washington state sues over spyware, or search for Washington state Secure Computer


Blogger my0p said...

Glad to read this. Welcome to Blogspot. Pesky pop-ups are more than annoying. When I go to remove the spyware and it hides itself in the registry or cloaking itself some other way on my syste. The amount of time I have to spend of ridding my PC of it makes me more than a bit vexed.

9:20 AM  

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