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Webmaster Agrees to Prosecutors’ Orders to Settle With FTC

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on February 28, 2007 filed an order in a court in California against an affiliate Webmaster charging him of spreading malicious computer program to bloggers and other end-users under the guise of free music offers.

The court permanently prohibited the defendant, Nicholas C. Albert, from meddling with consumers' computer operation and delivering malicious software. It also ordered him to refund the money amounting to $3,300 that he earned fraudulently.

The FTC accused Albert for violating the agency's law because he deceived bloggers and normal computer users by drawing them to iwebtunes.com and iwebmusic.com for non-chargeable music downloads.

When bloggers downloaded the files, they encountered a JavaScript that infected their sites so that the sites displayed links to Enternet making certain offers. When users visited those sites, they received pop-up windows giving serious security warnings. These said the users' browsers had become outdated inviting viruses, spam and spyware infection. So they asked to press 'Yes' to prevent such infections. Those who responded to the bluff didn't receive a browser update, instead allowed a code to track their online behavior. The ruse also changed the settings on the browser, planted toolbars and flashed ads.

Bloggers who downloaded Albert's software and inserted the music on their sites would also infect the visitors to those blogs. They would be forced to hear music and view pop-up ads.

FTC prosecutors said Albert was affiliated to Enternet. Albert agreed that he would never meddle with consumers' computer operation, not distribute malware, and not make deceptive claims of offering software. He also let FTC officials to monitor any marketing activities he may affiliate to in the coming eight years.

Enternet were also known as Lida Rohbani, Conspy, Baback (Babak) Hakimi and Nima Hakimi. Enternet officials agreed to pay $2 million to FTC to settle charges in connection to their involvement in the crime. Their badware went by soft names like 'Miracle Search', 'Search Miracle', 'EliteBar', 'Elite Toolbar' and 'EM Toolbar', said the FTC.

The FTC's case against Albert took effect with the help of Microsoft Corp., Webroot Software Inc., and Google Inc.

Related article: Webmasters Hostile Towards Infection Reports from Security Firms

» SPAMfighter News - 3/19/2007

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