Posted by Virus Bulletin on May 18, 2007
'Reformed' adware shippers upset by detection and removal.
Adware and sometime spyware maker Zango has brought a suit against anti-spyware firm PC Tools complaining that the Spyware Doctor product, a pared-down version of which is included in the freely available Google Pack set of utilities provided by Google, overestimates the dangers of the Zango product range and removes installed software without consent from the user.
Zango, formerly 180Solutions and incorporating Hotbar, produces adware-driven 'online media content', which has been the source of much controversy in recent years, with several lawsuits brought against the firm for employing deceptive practices, hiding its software or blocking removal, and gathering private data without consent. After several high-profile cases, including a payout of over $3 million to the FTC in November 2006, Zango has repeatedly stated its intention to reform its software to remove such spyware tactics, a requirement of the settlement made with the FTC.
However, the reputation earned by years of suspect behaviour, including allowing 'affiliates' to earn money from illicit distribution of Zango products to unsuspecting users, continues to dog the firm, and PCTools' recent decision to increase the threat rating applied to the company's software has led to the lawsuit, brought on Tuesday in a court in Seattle, Washington. Zango is demanding $35 million in damages for the harm caused to its profits by Spyware Doctor alerting on and removing their products.