FTC Asks Court to Shut Spyware Firm

The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday said that it was asking a U.S. District Court to shut down a spyware operation that was secretly installing malware on computers by luring them to download software that would allegedly make their P2P transfers anonymous. The programs then could not be uninstalled.

The software did not perform the advertised function at all, according to the FTC. It only acted as a vehicle to download and install dozens of spyware applications onto victims' computers.

The program would also hijack search engine requests, putting the defendant's own pages in search results above genuine results on Web sites made to look like Google and Yahoo.

To entice users to download the program in question, Odysseus Marketing, the software's creator, used claims in advertisements such as "Download Music Without Fear" and "Don't let the record companies win," the FTC said.

Under FTC laws, the company must prominently disclose that the "free" software downloads and installs other applications, the filing says. Instead, the agency charged that the company attempts to hide this fact in the terms and conditions that accompany the program.

According to the filing, attempting to uninstall the program using the provided tool only installs more spyware. Also, the FTC alleges the company went to great lengths to ensure that users cannot uninstall the software using the standard Windows application removal utilities.

Odysseus Marketing and its owner Walter Rimes deny any wrongdoing, and point to the fact that users must agree to the terms and conditions before installing the program.

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