Home > News > Microsoft, Washington State Sue Over Scareware • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options


Microsoft, Washington State Sue Over Scareware

Affiliate programs and webmasters possible targets of the viral software
Microsoft, Washington State Sue Over Scareware
Get XBIZ News
Oct 3, 2008 5:30 PM PDT    Text size: 
SEATTLE — Washington State and Microsoft Corp. are suing a Texas man and his businesses for allegedly operating a “scareware” scam on the Internet.

James Reed McCreary IV, of Woodlands, Texas, is the individual named in the lawsuit, filed in King County Superior Court on Oct. 1. Also named are an inactive Texas corporation, Branch Software Inc., which marketed software called Registry Cleaner XP, and Alpha Red Inc., a Houston-based company that provides various web services.

XBIZ’ attempts to reach McCreary were not immediately successful.

The lawsuit targets McCreary for running a business that violated the state Computer Spyware Act and constituted unfair business practices under the state Consumer Protection Act. It seeks a permanent injunction and damages, restitution and civil penalties.

Registry Cleaner XP was advertised to users of computers running Microsoft Windows through pop-ups of the operating system’s Windows Messenger Service. Also known as “net send messages” or “messenger spam,” they were made to look like official Windows messages that told users their computer’s registry was infected and needed repair.

Clicking the message would lead to downloading of free scan software for Registry Cleaner XP and, eventually, a $39.95 charge to install the full version and repair the computer of the “errors discovered by the scan.”

“[Branch Software] are in competition with others engaged in the sale and marketing of these products in and from Washington,” according to the lawsuit.

This kind of scareware is emerging as a money-making scheme by tech-savvy criminals, Ryan Sherstobitoff, chief corporate evangelist global anti-virus specialist Panda Security, told XBIZ.

Its installation on computers could yield credit card numbers as well as other personal information, Sherstobitoff said.

There may be “a whole onslaught of teams around the world” producing scareware, Panda’ security researcher Sean-Paul Sorrell said.

“The line does get kind of blurry between this company and others that are similar to it,” Sorrell said. “This one is a U.S. corporation backing this software with marketing techniques.”

Because there may be instances of organized criminal organizations controlling scareware for their benefit, many adult affiliate programs can find themselves victims of extortion scams, Sorrell told XBIZ.

One example Sorrell gave was Motigo, a web analytics service. Scareware purveyors may purchase advertising for Motigo on affiliate sites. The resulting pop-ups, which weren’t originally intended to be malicious, end up being hijacked.

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !


Data Privacy Is Tightening Up in the E.U.

Have you begun preparing for GDPR? If you are like most, you haven’t even heard of GDPR, but also if you are like most, it is going to affect your business, starting May 25, 2018. The GDPR, or General... More »

Preventing Legal Problems Before They Start

Dentists typically recommend that a person’s teeth be cleaned every six months and that oral X-rays be taken at least once every year. Internists recommend that a person receive a physical examination... More »

Could Adult Content Be Banned?

Earlier this month, I met with the Free Speech Coalition’s board of directors for our annual review. Despite the headwinds our industry faces, politically and economically, we are, as an organization,... More »
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.

Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Subscribe to XBIZ World magazine, the industry's leading e-commerce trade publication, delivering in-depth coverage of the online, mobile and ancillary digital markets.


Latin America Adult Business Expo

Jul 10 - Jul 12
Cartagena, Colombia

ANME Founders Show

Jul 16 - Jul 18
Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport


Aug 03 - Aug 06
Montreal, Quebec

XBIZ Berlin 2017

Sep 11 - Sep 14
Berlin, Germany
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!