Fine for alleged scareware firm which ignored court order

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

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.

Sign up to our free newsletter.
Security news, advice, and tips.

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 was discussed in Sophos’s 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)

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

What do you think? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.