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Sat 4 Oct 2008 12:00 AM

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Microsoft takes action against scareware

Files lawsuits against companies that market the product ‘Registry Cleaner XP’

Microsoft takes action against scareware
Lawsuits filed against companies that market scareware products

Microsoft has filed lawsuits against companies that market scareware products that trick users into buying software they don’t need.

Together with the Washington State Office of the Attorney General, Microsoft has filed lawsuits against Branch Software and AlphaRed - both companies that market the product 'Registry Cleaner XP'. If found guilty, they face a fine of up to $2,000.

Windows users were subjected to pop-ups that seemed to come from Microsoft with messages such as ‘virus found on your PC’ or ‘Warning! Your PC is infected’. Users were advised to ‘fix’ the problem by installing the advertiser’s software.

Software firms were able to send these pop-ups to any computer capable of receiving NetSend messages by using Windows Messenger service – not the chat application but a service used by system administrators on a network to contact computers users.

Microsoft stated that it’s preparing lawsuits against other companies outside Washington State for similar violations.

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