p2pnet.net News:- An operation that exploited Microsoft Internet Explorer security holes to sneak spyware into computers, and also used a fake p2p program to do the same thing, has been permanently shut down, says the US Federal Trade Commission.
In the hot seat are Odysseus Marketing and principal Walter Rines who, “lured consumers to their Web sites by advertising bogus free software, including a program called Kazanon that purportedly allowed consumers to engage in anonymous peer-to-peer file sharing,” says the FTC.
Unbelievably, Kazanon was still online when we went for a look at 9:01 Pacific. The link mentioned in the blurb below is missing, but the site was still boasting a Google Adsense box. It said:
You can FINALLY – ANONYMOUSLY – safely and securely download, swap, and trade music, movies, software, everything – with your FAVORITE program (Kazaa, Morpheus, Grokster, WinMX, or any of the P2P programs!) KAZANON makes you TOTALLY ANONYMOUS and INVISIBLE – NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW YOUR REAL IDENTITY, LOCATION, or IP ADDRESS. Kazanon silently modifies your PC’s Internet settings to make you invisible, untraceable, and totally anonymous. NO MORE FEAR of a lawsuit or prosecution just for downloading your favorite music
To download, just click on the Kazanon 1.0 Download link below and run or open the Kazanon10.exe file when prompted. The application will thereafter silently keep running at all times and keep you safe. Kazanon is FREE, all we ask is that you optionally Tell-A-Friend about us and send this page to your friends and family so they can trade music without fear as well! Link to this page if you can! Don’t let the record companies win! Kazanon is 100% FREE, but we cannot promise it will always be available – WE will probably be sued for making it available! That’s why we want to get it out to everyone right away, and keep the file-sharing revolution alive! Kazanon runs on Windows 98/ME/2K/XP only. Make sure and hit CTRL+D RIGHT NOW to bookmark this page! WE WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED! WE WILL NOT BE BULLIED INTO SUBMISSION!
Note the simlarity in names to Kazaa, a discredited p2p application now owned by Australia’s Sharman Networks and which was one of, if not the, first users of spyware. It’s labelled BadWare by a group which includes Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Oxford University’s Oxford Internet Institute, with the support of sGoogle, Lenovo, and Sun Microsystems.
On Odysseus, people who fell for the scam, allowing the spyware to be secretly downloaded, had their computer settings changed without their knowledge.
The FTC also said Odysseus and Rines, “distributed their spyware by exploiting security vulnerabilities in the Internet Explorer Web browser”.
The spyware intercepted and replaced search results on “popular” search engines and then, “barraged consumers with pop-up and other Internet ads”.
The software, “captured consumers’ personal information such as first and last names, addresses, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and Internet browsing and shopping histories, and transmitted that information to the defendants’ Internet servers,” says the FTC, adding:
“Consumers were unable to locate or uninstall the defendants` spyware through reasonable means,.”
Odysseus Marketing and Rines were to have been sued, but a “settlement announced today ends that litigation”. And that means the company and its principal will be able to stay in business, as long as they adhere to certain requirements.
Rines has also been ordered to get a $500,000 performance bond, “before downloading or installing software that causes the display of ads, modifies Web browsers or operating systems, or collects personal information.”
The settlement in addition calls for a $1.75 million judgment.
Looks good, but, “all but $10,000 is suspended based on the defendants` inability to pay,” says the FTC. “Should the court find that the defendants misrepresented their financial condition, the entire $1.75 million will become due.”
The FTC doesn’t say if Microsoft plans to take any action against Odysseus or Rines.
“I’ve turned over a new leaf”
The journalist states:
Some stories just keep on giving. When I called Walter Rines the other night looking for a quote, he laughed and said, “Oh really,” when I told him the Federal Trade Commission was trying to shut down his Stratham-based Internet business and had accused him of trafficking in spyware.
Later in the article Picklejar is quoted again:
“I wasn`t secretly installing anything,” Rines told me during a phone conversation while he was taking care of his children at home. “I couldn`t have been more conspicuous, and I had nothing to do with spyware.”
Uhh yeah right, “Walter” I don`t buy it and I don`t think the FTC or anyone else does either. Here`s comments from a friend who shall remain anonymous, sent to me after reading the article:
Walt is so full of xxxx. He`s been peddling that “I’ve turned over a new leaf” story for years now and it’s getting old. He must be the most clueless person walking the planet. He’s a criminal, always was, always will be. It’s downright ludicrous the way he struts around claiming “those days are behind me”. The fact of the matter is, he made a reputation for himself, now he has to wear it. Nothing he can do or say will earn him the right to be trusted even if he stays legit for the rest of his life. It’s all about making your bed then lying in it.