A firm accused of scaring punters into buying ineffective protection against spyware has been ordered to curtail its deceptive marketing claims by a US District court. The Federal Trade Commission is looking to extend this temporary injunction against Spyware Assassin into a permanent ban. The US consumer watchdog is also seeking compensation for consumers from MaxTheater, the firm behind Spyware Assassin, and Thomas L. Delanoy, its principal.
In papers filed with the US District Court for the Eastern District of Washington in Spokane, the FTC alleges that Spyware Assassin and its affiliates used websites, email, banner ads, and pop-ups to drive consumers to the Spyware Assassin website. Thereafter consumers were exposed to a series of dire warnings designed to induce people into running a "free spyware detection scan" which allegedly "detected" spyware even on clean machines.
Frightened punters were then invited to shell out $29.95 for a package called Spyware Assassin which promised to "remove all spyware programs and files" and "prevent any future breaches". According to the FTC, the "anti-spyware" software is vapourware which failed to "remove all or substantially all spyware", contrary to the defendants' claims. ®