Acting on a Federal Trade Commission complaint, a federal court has imposed a $163 million judgment on a woman who allegedly helped run a scareware ring that tricked over one million consumers across six countries into purchasing fake security software. That decision, announced by the FTC Tuesday, came after a two-day bench trial last month. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett, who presided over the case, also wrote in his related judgment that the defendant, Kristy Ross, shall be permanently restrained and enjoined from the marketing and sale of computer security software and software that interferes with consumers computer use as well as from engaging in any form of deceptive marketing
Social-engineering scamdesigned to trick users into thinking their PC contains viruses, system errors, spyware, or pornography. The software then advertises information security software to help, which is available for immediate download. But in reality, the results of the system scan, as well as security software’s cleaning power, is fake. Cyber crooks use of server-side infrastructure used to infect PCs is increasing. Online Criminals Best Friends: Malnets. According to the FTC, Kristy Ross, together with defendants Sam Jain, Daniel Sundin, Marc D’Souza, and James Reno, served as officers and directors of two businesses: Belize-based Innovative Marketing, Inc. (IMI), and a subsidiary, Cincinnati-based ByteHosting Internet Services. The businesses were used to conduct a massive scareware scheme that marketed a variety of computer security software via deceptive advertising. According to the FTC, the operation used elaborate and technologically sophisticated Internet advertisements placed with advertising networks and many popular commercial websites, which purported to display the results of a system scan that invariably detected a host of malicious or otherwise dangerous files and programs on consumers computers.