FTC Wins $163 Million Settlement Against Pop-up Scareware Firm

The Federal Trade Commission announced a $163m settlement against an operation that used ‘scareware‘ into tricking consumers into thinking their computers were infected with malicious software. The company would then sell a ‘fix’ to the non-existant problem

The court order also permanently prohibits the defendant, Kristy Ross, from selling computer security software and any other software that interferes with consumers’ computer use, and from any form of deceptive marketing.

In 2008 the FTC’s efforts charged Ross and six other defendants with tricking more than one million consumers into buying software to remove malware supposedly detected by computer scans. According to the FTC complaint, the companies operated for six years selling a huge range of  anti-virus and anti-spyware software with names like “WinFixer”, “WinAntiVirus” and “ComputerShield”, as well as Windows registry cleaners.

The faked “scans” urged consumers to buy the defendants’ software for $40 to $60 to clean off the malware, the FTC said.

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