WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A software vendor that tried to drum up sales by offering to clean up nonexistent computer “spyware” has been temporarily shut down, U.S. regulators said on Friday.
The makers of Spyware Assassin tried to scare consumers into buying software through pop-up ads and e-mail that warned their computers had been infected with malicious monitoring software, the Federal Trade Commission said.
Free spyware scans offered by Spokane, Washington-based MaxTheater Inc. turned up evidence of spyware even on machines that were entirely clean, and its $29.95 Spyware Assassin program did not actually remove spyware, the FTC said.
A U.S. court has ordered the company and its owner, Thomas Delanoy, to suspend its activities until a court hearing on Tuesday. The company could be required to give back all the money it made from selling Spyware Assassin.
MaxTheater could not be reached for comment.