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The Federal court in US has fined a woman who had duped one million consumers from six different countries by helping to run a scareware ring. On a complaint filed by the FTC, the Federal court imposed a fine of $163 million on this woman. The woman helped in running a scare ware which tricked a million customers across six countries to purchase sham security software.
The trial lasted for more than two months before the decision was delivered on Tuesday. Presiding over the case, the district judge Richard D Bennett wrote the following words in his judgement against the accused Kristy Ross- “shall be permanently restrained and enjoined from the marketing and sale of computer security software and software that interferes with consumers’ computer use as well as from engaging in any form of deceptive marketing.”
The modus operandi of Kristy Ross was very simple and envisaged a carefully programmed social engineering scam which tricks the user into believing that his or her PC contains viruses, system errors, spyware or porn matter. Then the software asks the user to download a fake security antivirus and the user is duped.
Kristy Ross along with defendants Sam Jain, Daniel Sundin, Marc D’Souza, and James Reno, represented as officers of two enterprises –the Belize-based Innovative Marketing, Inc. (IMI) and its subsidiary Cincinnati-based ByteHosting Internet Services. Both were involved in a massive scareware scheme and sold an array of sham security software through dubious advertising methods.
The group had perfected the operation with carefully orchestrated and sophisticated internet campaign. It envisaged placing advertisements with advertising networks and commercial websites about scanners which would scan the user’s computers and display fictitious results. The scanner then asks the users to buy the security software or antivirus which will remove the unwanted elements in the user’s computer.
However in reality there won’t be any errors and it is believed that she was involved in targeting more than a million machines.