Three companies shut down on spyware charges
A U.S. court shut down three Internet companies for secretly bundling malicious "spyware" with ring tones, music programs and other free high-tech goodies, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday. The malicious software tracked victims’ Internet activity, hijacked their home pages and deluged them with unwanted "pop up" ads, the FTC said.
According to a complaint filed in district court in Los Angeles, Enternet and Conspy bundled their malicious software with music files, song lyrics and cellular telephone ring tones offered free on a range of Web sites. The software was also disguised as a security upgrade for Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer Web browser.
The assets of Enternet Media Inc. and Conspy & Co. Inc., based in California, and Iwebtunes, based in Ohio, have been frozen pending further court action, the FTC said. The court also ordered all three firms to halt downloads of the software.