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Three Men fined $330,000 for Pushing Spyware onto Customers’ PC

3 men who forced spyware on more than 15 Million computers have agreed to pay a fine of $330,000 and will be monitored for 8 years by the federal authorities.

Robert A. Davidson II, Elliott S. Cameron, and Garry E. Hill are paying the fine as a penalty to settle charges of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on account of violating consumer laws for cheating people to install malware named the Media Motor. The spyware had been associated with different companies like Joysticksavers.com, Privateinpublic.com, and ERG Ventures.

ERG Ventures LLC was accused by FTC in October 2006 for distributing spyware infecting 15 Million computers. A program called Media Monitor was used, which could report and track online habits of users installing it, as it hid inside several applications. Top downloads were screensavers and short comical videos, and other programs were toolbars and desktop gadgets.

Media Monitor altered the browser homepages and was able to track the online activities, claimed FTC. Also, the program would deteriorate system performance, would disable anti-virus and anti-spyware software and when detected, was extremely difficult to remove. Microsoft filed a case against ERG in November 2006 for damages for the distribution of spyware, which was rolled into the settled filed by FTC.

FTC said that the order would permanently prohibit such culprits from giving out software interfering with consumers' computers, also the software used for tracking down consumer Internet activities or that allow access to any personal information, generating unwanted pop-up advertisements, fiddles with any installed programs or installation of other software for advertising into the computers.

SCMagazineUS.com, on 1st October 2007 was told by the Director of malware Research at Sunbelt Software, Eric Howes, that Media Motor was famous in early 2006 and late 2005. He further added that press gave a lot of attention to the exploit also mentioning the name of the companies which used the exploit. At the end of January 2006, thus, a lot of companies involved in mass adware installs vanished.

However, compared to the company's $3.6 Million gain, the fine of $ 330,000 is much lesser, Howes claimed. He added that the company is letting the culprit walk away; unless the mass wealth is misrepresented by them.

Related article: Three New Threats With Highest Percentages in Top Ten

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