Adware costs Zango $3 million

Cash and promises settle deceptive practices case.

Adware giant Zango, formerly known as 180Solutions, has settled a case brought by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for $3 million. The firm was accused of using unfair and deceptive techniques to trick users into installing their adware products, which then gathered user data in return for access to web content.

The firm's adware products were often spread by third-party affiliates using highly suspect tactics, including exploiting vulnerabilities to carry out drive-by downloads of the software with no user interaction. The software made its way onto over 70 million computers in the US alone, and was responsible for displaying over 6.9 billion pop-up adverts. The adware was often hidden or made difficult for the average user to remove.

On top of the fine, Zango, Inc. has been strictly instructed to refrain from installing its adware without proper user notification and consent, and to cease using vulnerabilities as an install vector. It must also provide clear identification of the source of ads displayed, and a fully functioning complaint and uninstallation system.

A release from the FTC is here, and links to several (PDF) documents relating to the case can be found here. Two months ago, the same firm was cleared of spyware charges.

Posted on 06 November 2006 by Virus Bulletin.

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