WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Internet marketer has agreed to stop
inundating computers with unwanted "spyware" that can disable users'
computers while he fights a lawsuit from the U.S. Federal Trade
Sanford Wallace and his two companies, Seismic Entertainment
Productions Inc. and SmartBot.Net Inc., have agreed to stop
distributing programs that secretly crawl onto Web surfers' computers,
though they will be able to display pop-up ads, according to an
agreement filed on Dec. 20.
The agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in Concord, New Hampshire,
remains in place until the FTC's charges of deceptive business
practices are settled.
The FTC sued Wallace in October in a case widely touted as the first
federal attempt to crack down on spyware. The FTC said Wallace's
software disables computers in an attempt to bully their owners into
buying anti-spyware products.
Wallace did not have to admit guilt as part of the agreement. An
attorney for Wallace was not available for comment and an FTC
spokesman declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.
Internet users running Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer Web browser
become infected when they visit Web sites that contain certain banner
ads, the FTC said.
The software then hijacks Web browsers, causes CD-ROM trays to slide
open and slows down computers or causes them to cease working
altogether, all the while displaying a torrent of pop-up ads urging
consumers to buy programs called Spy Wiper or Spy Deleter to clean up
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