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Friday, September 18, 2009

Thank you Microsoft:getting tough with Scareware scammers

It is nice to see that Microsoft is willing to do this for users of the Internet. I know there are more scareware scammers out there than those mentioned in the following article,I hope Microsoft or some government somewhere goes after these evil people too!
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Microsoft Sues Scareware Scammers


Published: September 17, 2009

Microsoft filed lawsuits against five companies Thursday, accusing them of using malicious advertisements to trick victims into installing software on their computers.


The company is suing DirectAd Solutions, Soft Solutions, qiweroqw.com, ote2008.info and ITmeter, saying that these companies have used ads to "distribute malicious software or present deceptive websites that peddled scareware to unsuspecting Internet users," according to a blog posting by Tim Cranton, associate general counsel with Microsoft.

Scareware is malicious or ineffective software. It's so named because buyers are usually scared into buying it with fake messages that tell them that their computer has been infected. These products have been around for years, but in the past few months they've become a major problem. Over the weekend, The New York Times was tricked into running a scareware ad on its site by scammers pretending to be with Vonage, a legitimate telecommunications company.

But scareware ads are popping up everywhere these days, security experts say. "These guys have decided to go full-court press on this, because it's obviously very profitable," said Paul Ferguson, a researcher with antivirus vendor Trend Micro.

Typically, when a scareware ad pops up on a victim's screen, it looks like a Windows utility running some kind of security scan. It will then warn that it has found a critical security problem and direct the victim to a Web site where they can buy a product to fix the issue.

When the victim pays, the scammers then deliver useless or even malicious software. Often, they also use the victim's credit card number for further fraud or try to hack into the machine.

In addition to pushing malicious ads, these scammers have also been poisoning Google search results lately. To do this, they keep track of hot search topics and then use search engine optimization techniques -- using software to create a bunch of links to their malicious pages -- so that their pages come up first in search results. When the victim clicks on the fake search result, they're taken to a Web site that pops up the fake scareware system scan.

Recently, they've hijacked search results relating to South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson, the U.S. Open tennis tournament and actor Patrick Swayze.

Sometimes they are very localized, too. "When Seattle was having a heatwave this past summer they hijacked search results for Seattle weather," said Katherine Tassi, assistant attorney general with the Washington State Attorney General's Office. Her office sued a Texas company for allegedly supplying rogue antivirus software back in September 2008. That company has since gone out of business, she said.

Today most scareware sellers operate outside the U.S., making it hard to stop them, Tassi said. "Certainly on a state level, it's become virtually impossible."

"They're multimillion-dollar enterprises, they're criminal in nature, and they span multiple continents," she said.

Microsoft's lawsuits are so-called John Doe suits, meaning the company does not know who is behind these companies but hopes to discover the perpetrators as it continues to investigate.

Nevertheless, Cranton wrote that Microsoft hopes that the "filings will help deter malvertising in the future."

sourcehttp://www.nytimes.com/external/idg/2009/09/17/17idg-microsoft-sues-scareware-scammers-55614.html

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.