According to the FTC, over a million – a million! – people have been tricked “into buying computer security products such as WinFixer, WinAntivirus, DriveCleaner, ErrorSafe, and XP Antivirus,” through a tactic commonly known as scareware.
Yes, those little boxes that pop up on just about every single non-technical computer user’s computer telling them that their computer might be infected and that they should buy $40+ antivirus software after running a system scan that’s nothing more than a poorly constructed animated GIF file. Those companies are in big trouble.
The FTC has temporarily frozen the assets of two of the main culprits, Innovative Marketing, Inc. and ByteHosting Internet Services, LLC in order “to preserve the possibility of providing consumers with monetary redress” and the FTC also “seeks to permanently bar the defendants from engaging in ‘scareware’ marketing” after it slapped both companies with a restraining order a few days ago.
Innovative Marketing has offices in the Ukraine, while ByteHosting is based out of Cincinnati. Of course, this isn’t a guarantee that stuff like this won’t keep happening, but it’ll hopefully send a good, strong message to all the other charlatans out there.