FTC Busts BlogSpot Spyware Ring

    November 11, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The Federal Trade Commission has shut down three companies that tricked bloggers into placing code on their sites that delivered spyware to user machines.

Bloggers who thought they were getting background music for their blogs were actually placing malicious code on their sites, the FTC noted in a complaint it filed against three companies on Thursday. The code actually prompted visitors to download purported security programs that were spyware instead.

The FTC named three firms, Enternet Media, Conspy and Co., and iWebTunes as the perpetrators and obtained injunctions against them from US District Court. Several individuals were also named in the filing.

The assets of the companies have been frozen pending the outcome of a hearing. At the hearing, the FTC will seek to permanently shut down the companies and relieve them of profits they made at the expense of unknowing users.

Enternet and Conspy provided the spyware, and iWebTunes was the front for the operation. In an eWeek report, anti-spyware researcher Eric Howes said the companies were responsible for “SearchMiracle and EliteBar, two of the nastiest spyware programs. They were also using rootkit technology to hide files and defeat anti-spyware software.”

Complaints about BlogSpot blogs being home to spyware started in September 2004, according to researcher Ben Edelman. By allowing BlogSpot users to place unknown JavaScript code in headers and navigation bars on blogs, the spyware companies were able to get their popups delivered to blog visitors.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.