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Federal Judge Penalizes Spyware Distributor

A US judge has granted a request by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to rule against a company for helping scammers to infect a huge number of computers with intrusive and destructive spyware, as accords to FTC officials on March 10, 2008.

According to the judgment, the US District Court for the Nevada District has ordered Timothy P. Taylor to pay $4,595.36 in compensation to the amount he illegally acquired by tricking Internet users into downloading his company's spyware.

Officials at FTC say that Taylor was acting deceptively with consumers to make them download harmful software by concealing it inside apparently harmless free applications including, video files and screensavers on his TeamTaylorMade.com site. Programs on Taylor's Website included spyware namely, Media Motor from ERG Ventures.

Once installed, the malicious software quietly activated itself along with installing software that modified the home pages of consumers, intercepted their online activity, changed the browser settings, reduced the system's performance and disabled anti-virus and anti-spyware products. A number of the defendants' malware programs installed onto the consumers' computers were nearly impossible to remove by normal processes.

The commission had framed an accusation against the defendants that they used a fraudulent End User License Agreement, which, although offered computer users the choice to abort loading of any software from ERG Ventures, surreptitiously loaded one irrespective of whether consumers rejected or accepted the agreement's terms.

The judgment also bars Taylor from distributing applications that interferes with users' computers. Such software has been classified as those that intercept consumers' online activity, collects personal information, pops up undesirable advertisements, meddles with or disables already installed software or loads other advertising program onto consumers' systems.

Besides, IDG News Services reported in February 2008 that some estimates indicate decreasing problems of spyware in the United States; however, developers of all sorts of malware prevail due to the inappropriate behavior of most computer users.

Director of the Collaborative Center for Internet Epidemiology and Defenses at the University of California, Stefan Savage, said that apart from problems due to users, a flourishing underground market exists where malware and spyware-compromised data are being handled, as reported by NetworkWorld.

Related article: Federal Secret Service Investigates Security Breach on Municipal Court Site

» SPAMfighter News - 3/18/2008

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