FTC Ending Odysseus Spyware Journey

    October 5, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against a company whose product redirected Google and Yahoo searches.

The FTC claims the Kanzanon application offered by New Hampshire-based Odysseus Marketing and its principal Walter Rines offered anonymous peer to peer sharing, but was instead a spyware and adware-laden product that could not be uninstalled from user computers.

Kanzanon performed stealth downloads of adware and spyware applications via a bundled application called Clientman. Once on a system, the downloaded malicious applications would redirect users to copycats of sites like Google and Yahoo to perform searches.

Those copycat sites return results loaded with links to clients of Odysseus in the search results. In addition, the spyware on the systems sent information to the defendant’s computers. The installation of the spyware programs is only disclosed on the defendant’s web site, in the middle of a two page end user license agreement.

Further, the uninstall tool provided with the software not only does not uninstall the product, but installs additional software instead. Unsurprisingly, the FTC voted 4-0 to authorize the filing of the lawsuit: The FTC charges that the practices of Odysseus Marketing and Walter Rines are unfair and deceptive and violate the FTC Act. The agency will seek a permanent halt to the practices.

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