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, as part of the FTC’s efforts to protect consumers from spyware and malware, the FTC charged Ross and six other defendants with conning more than one million consumers into buying software to remove malware supposedly detected by computer scans.
The FTC charged that the operation used elaborate and technologically sophisticated Internet advertisements placed with advertising networks and many popular commercial websites.
These ads displayed to consumers a “system scan” that invariably detected a host of malicious or otherwise dangerous files and programs on consumers’ computers. The bogus “scans” would then urge consumers to buy the defendants’ software for $40 to $60 to clean off the malware.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland subsequently ordered a halt to the massive scheme, pending litigation.
In February 2010, defendants ByteHosting Internet Services, James Reno, Marc D’Souza and Maurice D’Souza settled with the FTC. Under a settlement announced in 2011, defendants Marc D’Souza and Maurice D’Souza were ordered to give up $8.2 million in ill-gotten gains.
Also in February 2010, default judgments were entered against corporate defendant Innovative Marketing, and defendants Sam Jain and Daniel Sundin for failure to appear and participate in this litigation.
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