FTC goes after scareware scammers

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Dec 11, 2008

Courts crack down on pushers of rogue anti-malware.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced a successful move to persuade a US district court to shut down a major player in the rogue anti-spyware business. The company behind the notorious WinFixer and XP Antivirus scams has been issued with a temporary restraining order barring it from claiming to have performed any kind of scanning of its victims' systems, the main vector of the company's duplicitous scams.

The defendants in the case are the companies Innovative Marketing, registered in Belize but apparently based in Kiev, Ukraine, and ByteHosting Internet Services, run out of Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as several individuals running or profiting from the companies, both of which operated under a range of other names. The US District Court for the District of Maryland approved the FTC's request to call a halt to the companies' activities and freeze the assets of those behind the scams.

According to a press release issued by the FTC, over 1 million computer users had been taken in by various scams run by Innovative Marketing, which included a wide range of rogue anti-malware products and others claiming to detect child pornography and other unwanted content on victims' systems. Reaching victims via online advertising, the scams generally tried to get their suspect software installed using scare tactics and offers of free security checks, and would then go on to persuade victims to pay for full versions with overblown and often entirely fictitious warnings of malware infections. A simple summary of a typical attack pattern is on the McAfee blog here, and a nice chart of another attack system at the Panda blog here.

Full details of the FTC action is in a press release here and in further documentation available here. Comment on the events is on Sunbelt's committed anti-rogue-software blog here and here.

Posted on 11 December 2008 by Virus Bulletin



Latest posts:

New paper: Behind the scenes of GandCrab's operation

The GandCrab ransomware regularly updated itself to newer versions to stay ahead of decryptors released by security researchers, and regularly included taunts, jokes and references to security organizations in its code. In a new paper, the AhnLab…

VB2019 paper: King of the hill: nation-state counterintelligence for victim deconfliction

At VB2019 Juan Andres Guerrero-Saade looked at nation-state actors using threat intelligence for victim deconfliction. Today we publish both his paper and the recording of his presentation.

The VB2020 call for papers - how it works

With the VB2020 Call for Papers now open, we explain how the selection procedure works, which may help you during your abstract submission.

VB2019 presentation: Targeted attacks through ISPs

In 2019 we saw a rise in the number of targeted malware infections spread via ISPs and service providers. In a last-minute paper presented at VB2019 in London, Kaspersky researcher Denis Legezo discussed the details of a number of such cases. Today…

VB2019 presentation: A deep dive into iPhone exploit chains

In a last-minute presentation at VB2019 in London, John Bambenek of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign discussed details of campaigns that used advanced iOS and Android exploit chains against China’s Uighur minority. Today we release the…

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.