The RDV Group InfoSec Blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Don't click that banner!

We see them all the time: big flashing banner ads at the top of a web site we're visiting. It says something very scary about spyware or bad stuff on our PC, and we should click the ad and find out more.

Don't do it! Last week a company named Secure Computer LLC (not to be confused with Secure Computing) , was the first company charged with violation of the 2005 Computer Spyware Act for excuting pop-ups to lure consumers into downloading fake repair software that did more harm than good.

I'm especially interested in this case because, although the charge was filed by the Washington State AG, the company resides in my hometown, White Plains, NY. According to Julie Moran Alterio of the Westchester Journal News: "Consumers were tricked into downloading the software, called "Spyware Cleaner," by pop-up and pop-under ads that mimicked Microsoft Windows system messages as well as through e-mail and Google ads that implied Microsoft Corp. was affiliated with the product, the lawsuit alleges. Microsoft has filed a similar lawsuit."

As I detailed in my most recent book: "Phishing: Cutting the Identity Theft Line", every PC has to have spyware protection, and often you need software from more than one vendor. But beware of third party pop-ups or other intrusions with dire warnings. If someone you don't know wants you to click and install something unfamilar, it's probably not for your benefit.

For more information about current computer security news and vulnerabilites, check out the RDV Group Security News.


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