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Scammer Sued for Coercing Spyware Through Pop-up Assaults

The Office of Washington Attorney General has charged a Scottsdale, Arizona man with forcing consumers to purchase software to stop computer pop-ups, however, he first overwhelmed the users' computers with ads promoting Viagra and pornography.

Ron Cooke, Owner of Arizona-based Messenger Solutions, is accused of going against Washington's Consumer Protection Act and Computer Spyware Act by marketing programs, which he named variously as System Doctor, Messenger Blocker, WinAntiVirus Pro 2007 and WinAntiSpyware.

As accords to one complaint lodged on March 25, 2008 with Seattle's King County Superior Court, Cooke's company forced some net surfers to get flooded with pop-up ads promoting links to porn pages and a few sketchy Websites. The company sent the messages through Windows Messenger Service, a Windows utility that enables administrators to deliver notices to its users.

Cooke also used the Windows Messenger Service to send the same computer users another torrent of pop-ups with the purpose to stimulate warnings on their system. The warnings said that the user's computer is vulnerable to malware attacks and so led the person to a Website where he could buy software that would apparently prevent pop-up advertisements.

With the obscure pop-ups already rattling the nerves of end-users, Messenger Solutions, also sends the users a new series of notifications looking similar to official Windows warnings. They claimed that the user's computer was susceptible to security attacks and suggested installing a special software solution to mitigate the threat.

Rob McKenna, Attorney General, said that his office's suit also alleges that Ron Cooke do not stop at just coercing consumers into purchasing his software but also used his program to maliciously turn his victims' PCs into spam-generating bots, as reported by consumeraffairs on March 25, 2008.

According to the Attorney General's Office, Cooke sent out the messages and advertised his malicious program from his residence and possibly hundreds of people in Washington received the fraudulent pop-up ads. All the same officials were not certain as to how many consumers outside Washington State were forced with the ads or what number of end-users actually installed software on the basis of the ad's directions.

Related article: Scammers Exploit Tax System Resulting in ID Theft

» SPAMfighter News - 03-04-2008

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