As a certified hater of all things spyware, it’s nice to hear about this kind of story. In the US, the Federal Trade Commission is going after a company that it claims is a spyware and adware operation, practising such activities as invading people’s personal computers and hijacking their home pages. Under the spotlight are Odysseus Marketing, and its head, Walter Rines.
Odysseus advertised free software which it claimed would allow consumers to anonymously engage in peer-to-peer file sharing, the FTC claims. However, the software did not make file sharing anonymous, and was bundled with spy ware called Clientman which downloaded dozens more programs, clogging and slowing users’ machines. The bundled software served up pop-ups, captured and transmitted information, and replaced and reformatted search results, serving up rigged results to place the defendants’ clients first.
The FTC claims that Odysseus intentionally made the software difficult (if not impossible) to install, and that the included uninstall feature actually did nothing of the kind – instead of uninstalling the application it in fact went on to the Net and downloaded more rubbish. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a trend of many such dodgy firms getting investigated.