Critical Infrastructure Security

Consumer groups take on fake music search site

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Two anti-spyware watchdogs are set to send a complaint to federal regulators today about a malicious software website posing as a music download store.

The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and StopBadware.org will file a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claiming an Argentina-based website's free plug-in installation contains adware and spyware applications.

FastMP3Search[dot]com, is a fake music search site that asks consumers to install a plug-in to be able to download music files, but actually cons them into downloading malicious applications leaving their PCs vulnerable to further hacking attacks, according to the consumer advocacy groups.

StopBadware.org is an initiative that aims to produce a blacklist of malicious sites and the CDT is a watchdog group that runs the Anti-Spyware Coalition.

The free download disables the Windows firewall, alters homepage settings, changes website addresses for legitimate security companies and affects the PCs performance, according to the complaint.

Furthermore, StopBadware.org said the downloads are made without the user's consent and are difficult to uninstall.

John Palfrey, co-director of StopBadware.org, said in a statement: "In the past year, we have come across dozens of malicious programs available on hundreds of websites, and without question, FastMP3Search[dot]com tops our list of the worst actors."

"They have combined so many things in a single bundle. It's a parade of horribles," he said.

Last month the FTC fined online advertising company Zango $3 million for "unfairly and deceptively" installing adware more than 70 million times onto PCs.

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