Computer Crime Research Center


Microsoft helps to sue against spam and spyware

Date: January 26, 2006
Source: Red Herring

With help from Microsoft, Washington state filed a lawsuit Wednesday against a company that allegedly used spam and misleading advertising to frighten users into purchasing its spyware cleaner product, making it the first legal action under the state’s Computer Spyware Act enacted last year.

The Washington State Attorney General alleges that Secure Computer, its president Paul E. Burke, and others associated with the company offered consumers a free computer scan and then mislabeled software on their computer as spyware to frighten them into purchasing the cleaner product.

The 16-count lawsuit said that when users visited the site and consented to have their computer’s hard disk scanned, the scan results labeled innocuous files—such as harmless tracking cookies and Microsoft’s operating system registry keys—as spyware infections. Spyware is malicious software that can be used to steal personal information or track user behavior.

Secure Computer also categorized the results as having either “high risk” or “extreme risk.” The site advised users to purchase Secure Computer’s Spyware Cleaner to remove the files.

New York-based Secure Computer could not be reached for comment.

Microsoft offered technical information and analysis to help the Attorney General’s office file a case. The Redmond-based software company has also filed its own lawsuit against Secure Computer.

“Computer users should be able to trust that they will not be misled by dishonest activity in the online marketplace,” said Nancy Anderson, deputy general counsel for Microsoft. “The use of Washington’s anti-spyware law sends a strong message to online businesses that the state will do everything it can to prevent its citizens from becoming victims of deceit.”
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2006-10-02 22:18:22 - Spyware and other illegal websites ie... Stephen Rimington
2006-01-30 01:33:45 - All these Rogue Antispyware need to be... Stephen Rimington
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