Thursday, June 08, 2006

Rogue Anti Spyware Vendor fined

Seth Traub, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has been fined $2,000 for allegedly using Microsoft's name to lend credibility to false claims that users' PCs were infected with spyware.

Yes I'm afraid you read that last paragraph correctly and I didn't miss off any zero's. $2,000 seems a bit of a pittance considering the misery and personal cost his scam caused millions of unsuspecting PC owners worldwide.

An investigation found that an initial "free" scan always detected spyware on a user's computer, even if none existed. The full fat version of Spyware Cleaner, which was sold for $49.95, failed to detect most forms of spyware on deliberately infected computers. It also erased files used to keep a record of blocked programs. Traub received three-quarters of the income from sales of Spyware Cleaner he generated.

"The Attorney General's Office alleges that Seth Traub deceptively represented that Spyware Cleaner is a Microsoft product or sanctioned by Microsoft," Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna said. "His ad also misrepresented that the program would remove all spyware. In fact, our investigation found that Spyware Cleaner not only failed to detect most spyware on an infected computer, it left that computer more vulnerable to attacks."

Traub is the third defendant to settle over the first lawsuit brought under Washington State's computer spyware act. The suit alleges that Secure Computer has used deceptive marketing practices (pop-up ads, deceptive hyperlinks and spam emails) to promote Spyware Cleaner since at least 2004.
Source ¦ The Register
However, I won't get dispondent, this guy did get prosecuted and something is being done, it's a small start and hopefully the courts will be a little harder in future.

Remember... if you have been caught out by something similar and you wish to complain about it, then visit Malware Complaints and make a difference.