Spam installed on my computer
I had typed up my summary of my experience with the annoying AV Security Suite. So far there haven’t been any more problems but that is one heck of an annoying piece of crap. Since I typed up that blog post, I’ve had a few people coming to my site looking for information on how to sue the company. I wish I had more of an answer on how to accomplish this task myself.
It’s very difficult to find out any actual information about the potential sources of these malware programs. I did find some interesting information on wikipedia about rogue security software, of which AV Security Suite seems to be a part. The irony is that these rogue security programs have come about because companies that used to distribute spyware or adware are having a difficult time with improvements in anti-malware programs. Crooked individuals will just move to new opportunities. I always wonder why these people can’t use their powers for good instead of evil? Someone who is creative enough to create this crap should be capable of earning an honest living. I can only hope that the creators were not so smart and will eventually get caught.
While my technology knowledge isn’t sophisticated enough to track them down myself, it does appear that some people have been caught trying to distribute this type of malware. There was a settlement against a company called Secure Computer, LLC which totaled $1 million in damages in 2006. The 1000 people who were duped into buying the product were able to split the settlement of $75,000, while the state got $200,000 in civil penalties and the state lawyers got $725,000 in legal costs. I actually don’t mind the state lawyers getting that kind of money in a case like this as the main goal is to get this type of behavior to stop. Clearly people are still trying this crap.
More recently, there has been a huge lawsuit against Innovative Media by the FTC. The company was based out of Kiev and ultimately had to disband. A United States federal judge ordered the company as well as two individuals who worked for the company to pay $163 million in damages to the people who were scammed by their product. According to a very nice Reuters article, it appears that company generated $180 million in revenue in 2008. Now that’s a lot of money. I still think someone creative and smart enough to generate that kind of money should be capable of earning a good honest living.
Hopefully various governments will continue finding these idiots and can continue to take action. Unfortunately, my view of humanity is such that I assume criminal minds will continue to find ways to aggravate people through all means, including technology and the internet.
I also found an additional interesting article on Microsoft filing a lawsuit against malware antivirus companies. In that article, they mentioned a blog entry by Microsoft’s Assistant General Counsel. Microsoft refers to some of this malware as “malvertising”. They have proceeded with suing 5 different entities they believe are responsible for malware advertising. I’m guessing legal action is too expensive for someone to take up a class action lawsuit, given that the companies are probably very hard to track down, and even if you can track them down, it may be very hard to collect.