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MS Sues Rogue Antispyware Vendor

Mike Rochip

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Can you post the article text of some of the story with the link? Just the link seems a tad spammy.


Rogue anti-spyware vendor Secure Computer sued by Microsoft and Washington AG

Posted by Suzi Turner @ 3:38 pm



Lawsuits were filed today in the Western Washington US District Court against New York based Secure Computer, naming company president Paul E. Burke, website owner Gary Preston and several of the companies affiliates alleging, among other things, that their application Spyware Cleaner falsely reports spyware on users' computers and the use of aggressive and deceptive marketing techniques to mislead users in order to purchase the software. The Microsoft suit also alleges that the company used email spam and Windows Messenger pop-ups suggesting that the software was sponsored by or endorsed by Microsoft and illegally used name and trademark to frighten users.


Other allegations include that the spyware scan reported normal Windows registry keys as spyware and warned that "every moment the user leaves spyware on their computer the spyware could be doing damage". Spyware Cleaner was found be unable to detect most real spyware in testing. The supposed free scan actually downloaded the program to the user's computer without notice and erased the Hosts file. The Hosts file can be used to block unwanted web sites. The lawsuit named several of the company's affiliates and noted that affiliates could sign up with ClickBank, a large affiliate marketing organization. The affiliates earned 75% of the $49.95 cost of the program on each sale. This article says:




If the allegations in this case are true, Secure Computer could pay dearly. The Washington spyware act imposes a penalty of $100,000 per violation, and the company is also looking at penalties of $250 per violation of the CAN-SPAM Act, as well as $500 and $2,000 per violation, respectively, under Washington's antispam and consumer protection laws.




Based on the money that Secure Computer has made off the product, (Attorney General) McKenna estimated that thousands of users have been affected and that the penalties will amount "to millions of dollars."



The Washington State Attorney General's lawsuit is available here (PDF). Spyware Warriors live for this kind of news! Score one for the good guys. One rogue company down and 250 + left to go. It's worth noting that a number of the rogue anti-spyware apps listed on the Rogue/Suspect Anti-Spyware page at SpywareWarrior.com are marketed through ClickBank as well. A list of their Computing and Internet products can be seen here. At the time I'm typing this, Spyware Cleaner remains on the first page of that list.


Update: The Seattle Time story says:




McKenna said today that his office wants to hear from people who have purchased the program or performed the free computer scan that the Web site offers. Those people should file an online complaint at
or call 1-800-551-4636.




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Can you post the article text of some of the story with the link? Just the link seems a tad spammy.


You need to be a little careful here though Tarun about copying the entire article as it breaches their copyright rules.


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Most sites do not mind copying a phrase or paragraph with the attached link to the article, but not the entire text :).

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I was wondering about the copyright issue, you would think it wouldn't matter too much but then again I wouldn't have imagined the RIAA suing grandmothers and children, either.


I'll include an excerpt or summary and then a link to the original material from now on. Thanks you guys for the input.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think that copy an article, then state that the source of the article would not be a copyright violation. That would fall under "fair use".




Often some part, but not all the article is quoted and a link is mentioned to full article, that is good and fair.




You have to be careful with all kinds of things, such as spyware that claims to be Anti-Spyware, heh.


You can often look at the website, and easily pick up a vibe if its good or bad. Example, if you goto a website which offer software, if it has any popups or tries to get you into giving up your email address, then leave it.


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That is true. As long as you Cite the Author it's okay. It wouldn't hurt to throw in some quotation marks either. Extra caution.


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