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Breaking: Media Motor halted by FTC

Long arm of the law nabs Media Motor (opens in new tab) adware scammers:

Operators who infected more than 15 million computers with destructive, intrusive spyware will give up $330,000 in ill-gotten gains from their venture to settle FTC charges that their scam violated federal law. The settlement will bar the defendants from downloading software onto consumers’ computers without disclosing its function and obtaining consumers’ consent prior to installation, bars them from downloading software that interferes with consumers’ computer use, and bars false or misleading claims.

The FTC charged that ERG Ventures and its principals violated the FTC Act, which bars unfair and deceptive practices. Specifically, the FTC alleged that the defendants failed to disclose to consumers that the free software they offered was bundled with malware. The agency also charged the defendants with using a deceptive End User License Agreement, which gave consumers the option to halt the installation of all software from ERG Ventures, but secretly installed malware whether consumers accepted or rejected the terms of the agreement. The agency also charged the defendants with unfairly downloading software that causes substantial harm to consumers. At the request of the FTC, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada froze the defendants’ assets and ordered a halt to their spyware operation pending trial.

The stipulated final order announced today ends that litigation with these defendants.

The order will permanently bar the defendants from distributing software that interferes with consumers’ computers, including software that tracks consumers’ Internet activity or collects other personal information; generates disruptive pop-up advertising; tampers with or disables other installed programs; or installs other advertising software onto consumers’ computers. The defendants will also be required to fully disclose the name and function of all software they install on consumers’ computers in the future, and to provide consumers with the option to cancel the installation after viewing the disclosure. The defendants will give up $330,000 in ill-gotten gains. Should the court find that the defendants misrepresented their financial status, $3,595,925 – the total revenues from their scam – will be due.

The order names ERG Ventures, LLC, as well as Elliott S. Cameron, Robert A. Davidson II, and Garry E. Hill d/b/a Media Motor, and

More here. (opens in new tab)

Alex is a technology CEO, with leadership, operating partner, investor, and board member roles at security firms including AutoLoop, Borland, Quarterdeck (now Symantec and Cisco WebEx), GFI/TeamViewer, Sunbelt Software (now ThreatTrack Security), BlueStripe Software, StopBadware, Knowbe4, Malwarebytes, and Runaware Holding AB. When CEO of Sunbelt he ran a security blog, and he still writes on security.