Architecture, Network security

Symantec accused of selling “scareware”

January 12, 2012

One of the world's largest security firms is being accused of peddling scareware.

In what he hopes will turn into a class-action complaint, James Gross of Washington state filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., contending that Symantec software scares customers into buying its products by reporting problems that aren't really there.

Gross' beef with Symantec involves the free scans conducted by PC Tools Registry Mechanic, PC Tools Performance Toolkit and Norton Utilities.

He was tricked into paying about $30 to correct the issues that the scans revealed, even though the lawsuit alleges the scans didn't really check for anything, and the resulting product he bought served no purpose.

A Symantec spokesman said the lawsuit lacks merit, and that offerings in question perform legitimate functions, including improving system performance and maintaining machine health.

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