TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Three Companies Shut Down by U.S. Court on Spyware Charges

Three Companies Shut Down by U.S. Court on Spyware Charges

Reuters News Wire (
Thu, 10 Nov 2005 15:40:40 -0600

A U.S. court on Thursday shut down three Internet companies for
secretly bundling malicious "spyware" with ring tones, music programs
and other free high-tech goodies, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission
said on Thursday.

The malicious software tracked victims' Internet activity, hijacked
their home pages and deluged them with unwanted "pop up" ads, the FTC

The assets of Enternet Media Inc. and Conspy & Co. Inc., based in
California, and Iwebtunes, based in Ohio, have been frozen pending
further court action, the FTC said. The court also ordered all three
firms to immediatly halt downloads of the software.

Enternet Media and Iwebtunes could not be reached for comment. Conspy
did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to a complaint filed in district court in Los Angeles,
Enternet and Conspy bundled their malicious software with music files,
song lyrics and cellular telephone ring tones offered free on a range
of Web sites. The software was also disguised as a security upgrade
for Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer Web browser.

Iwebtines bundled the spyware with a program that plays background
music on blogs, the FTC said.

Once lodged on a victim's computer, the spyware was difficult to
remove, the FTC said.

Microsoft, Google Inc. and Webroot Software Inc. helped FTC with the
investigation, the FTC said.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in May that would
stiffen jail sentences and establish multimillion-dollar fines for
spyware purveyors, but the Senate has not yet taken it up.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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