Fine for alleged scareware firm which ignored court order

Filed Under: Law & order

Earlier this month a court ordered two companies to halt their operations, after they were suspected of tricking innocent users into purchasing bogus security software (an unpleasant scam known as scareware).

According to a statement at the time by the Federal Trade Commission, Innovative Marketing and ByteHosting Internet Services were believed to have tricked more than a million internet users into purchasing security software products such as DriveCleaner, ErrorSafe, WinAntivirus, WinFixer and XP Antivirus.

The latest development in this case is that a judge has now ruled that Innovative Marketing is in contempt because it has failed to stop its operations and refused to hand over financial records.

The Belize-based company is to be fined $8,000 every day, ruled US District Judge Richard D. Bennett, after the company's CEO and other defendants failed to attend a hearing in Baltimore.

No doubt we'll be hearing more about this case during 2009. Whether the people behind these companies are found guilty of scareware-related crimes or not, there's no doubt that this year saw a massive increase in these types of scams as we discussed in our recent Security Threat Report.

Someone has been making a lot of cash by scaring people into buying bogus security software.

* Image source: daisybush's Flickr photostream (Creative Commons 2.0)

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About the author

Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, and veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.