Application security

Odysseus Marketing settles spyware complaint with FTC

A spyware operation has settled a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint that it deceptively downloaded unwanted and malicious software onto users' computers.

Odysseus Marketing and its principal, Walter Rines, must forfeit $50,000 in ill-gotten gains and cannot engage in stealth downloads after the company advertised free software, including an anonymous peer-to-peer file-sharing service, that came bundled with spyware, according to an FTC statement released today.

The defendants also distributed the spyware by exploiting Internet Explorer vulnerabilities, a practice now banned under the settlement, the statement said.

Once installed, the spyware showered users with pop-up advertisements and captured their personal information, such as names, addresses, telephone numbers and internet browsing and shopping histories, the statement said.

Users were unable to uninstall the software "through reasonable means," the FTC said.

Under the agreement, the defendants can no longer misrepresent their software, and users must agree to any downloads prior to installation.

A telephone number could not be obtained for Odysseus or Rines.

Click here to email Dan Kaplan.

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