back to article Spyware 'scammer' sued over PC pop-up invasion

The alleged supplier of some of the net's most hated malware titles has been sued by Washington state's attorney general. Ron Cooke, the owner of Scottsdale, Arizona-based Messenger Solutions, stands accused of violating Washington's Computer Spyware Act and Consumer Protection Act for marketing programs that went under names …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    we should have a 'wall of shame'

    Then we can nail these guy to it.

  2. e4tmyl33t
    Thumb Up

    About time!

    Well, I for one have seen my fair share of virus removals, having worked for the US Geek Squad for a while. It is a bugger to get rid of, and because it LOOKS like actual anti-malware software, so many people get suckered in by it. A lot of the antispyware utilities out there can't even weed out everything installed by the WinAnti* crowd of crapware, they just get most of it and then catch whatever tries to reinstall each time it does.

    I am glad that they finally can get rid of this one (hopefully for good!)

  3. Anonymous Coward

    And theres more

    I was infected with WinAntiVirusPro 2006 ages before i got infected with the later WinAntiVirusPro 2007. The more annoying was for me the earlier version, Some the problems I had (they may not be due to the software) were svchost.exe, hard drives not going into low power standby, the computer slowing down dramatically, process.exe disappearing from command prompt, later regedit and run command disabled too. The software and its variants cost me weeks of misery and at the time because key programs like taskman.exe were infact disabled I was left with the only option which was to reboot. I think they should be prosecuted to the maximum of the law as how many critical computers in hospitals or laptops etc where infected and subsequently downed by such products. It's money grabbing stunts like that that really do cost lives.

  4. Dave Bell

    I'm coming to like Washington State

    Look at all the times they seem to be going after the scumbags that otherwise get ignored in the USA.

    OK, so they seem to get ignored in the UK, too. Why didn't Sony get their head nailed to the floor with the Computer Misuse Act?

  5. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    While he's doing his time inside...

    ...they should burst into his cell at random intervals throughout the day and night and tell him that what services are available at for only $9.99 a month!

  6. Andy A

    Too few companies take these things seriously

    It's not happening to them, so it can't be a problem, can it?

    I was recently attacked by a related piece of crapware pushed through a malformed banner ad. My PC was well protected, but closing the browser was the only safe way to get rid of the incessant demand that I install the crap.

    I informed the host site concerned (for which I pay a subscription), explaining what was happening and that they should have words with their banner ad supplier.

    Their response (overnight) was very dismissive, claiming that their site was entirely virus free. I emailed back explaining again EXACTLY what was happening. I named their banner ad agent and told them to shout in that direction.

    Again a dismissive reply. At least they mentioned removal tools this time. I knew I was not infected, so did not need them.

    Half an hour later, another malformed banner. Different "product" name, same scam.

    Another email to the host, explaining that although I knew that their site did not actually push this crap directly, other subscribers would not be as savvy, and that they would lose trust, and serious money. The site, and the related ones which almost certainly share the same banner ads, have hundreds of thousands of subscribers. They ought to have serious words with their banner ad provider.

    The next day an apologetic email arrived. They had eventually spoken to their supplier.

  7. Elmer Phud

    FF Fanboi

    What's a 'Pop up'?

    smug Firefox/Ad Block fanboi reaches for Nomex jacket.

  8. Chris iverson


    reminds me of coowebsearch and the pain that caused to remove.

    Now I am older and maybe a little smarter plus a host files that redirects all crap to the dear old loopback

  9. Herby

    Washington state needs to go after ALL virus writers

    Including the one who is located in their state that supplies the biggest virus of all: Windows!

    Mine is the one that is shaped like a flag with four colors.

  10. Morely Dotes

    @ Elmer Phud

    A "pop up" is the vernacular for Microsoft's Remotely-Operated Malware Installation System, otherwise known as "Internet Explorer with ActiveX"

  11. Mike Silver badge

    @ FF Fanboi

    "What's a pop-up?", well, you must not be employed, or not by a company over 100 people. I us FF at home and work, with pop-ups "mostly blocked", and essentially _every_ corporate "service", like finding the documents I need to do my job, or applying for PTO, or finding out what medical claims have been paid, or getting the ISO-9000/14000-required "training", are served via pop-up/flash/javascript-infested web-servers, nearly all of which have been outsourced to "solution providers", so even keeping up with the "allow web-rape from..." preferences is a significant time-sink.

  12. KarlTh


    Ain't that the truth. First bit of troubleshooting for most of these "solutions" when they don't work is "ensure pop-ups aren't blocked".

    And whilst you're at it, break out the vaseline and bend over.

  13. Rui Ribeiro

    Virus? Spyware? malware served from banners?

    What is that by god´s sake? I fail to understand how people still put up with that is not that you cannot find alternatives anymore. I ditched windows after 98se, and never looked back.

    Tried to use linux for a couple of years, and after I learned what a Mac could do maintaining my boss computer, I had just do get one for myself. Been using one for a couple of years now, and I couldn´t be more happier.

    It is just enough pain to open the XP emulation once every two months...



  14. Steve Roper

    Well, there's only one thing needs to be done...


  15. Jonathan

    Spyware, Malware, Virus writers....

    Please die. Really, I'm being serious. If you write viruses, or spyware, or malware, or adware, please know that the entire world thinks more about the welfare of cockroaches than they do of you. You are lower than human filth, you arent fit to be associated with humans. Please do us all a favour and off yourself - you deserve to have your genes removed from the human race.

    I want to start a reality TV show - I need backers. The idea is this - every week, or perhaps every day given how many spyware writers there are - myself and two burly men go to the house of a known spyware/virus writer. We knock on the door, and enquire as to whether the writer in question is at home. If he is, the two burly men remove him from the premises, beat the living shit out of him, give him a wedgie that will hopefully result in sterility and destroy all of his computer equipment.

    With one stroke, we make the internet a safer place, and entertain millions with WWF style antics, only our targets cant fight back because their muscles have atrophied so much.

  16. Rusty

    Hanging is too good for them!

    I'm thinking castration with a rusty knife, no anesthetic and no antiseptic - these bastards got me TWICE on sites I'd been to numerous times - still having some issues from their meddling!

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